More than 600 participants and supporters gathered at Marine Stadium in Long Beach for the inaugural open water swim that raised nearly $40,000 for lung cancer research programs at the MemorialCare Todd Cancer Institute (TCI) at Long Beach Memorial. The MemorialCare Todd Cancer Institute is dedicated to the early diagnosis, treatment, research and education of patients with cancer.
The event was a replica of the 2012 London Olympics triathlon and marathon swimming course. Swimmers chose between several distances including 100 meters, 800 meters, 1.5 km, 5 km and 10 km. Fundraisers like Swim Across America allow TCI to continue its research programs and maintain an inventory of clinical trials that give patients the opportunity to be treated with the newest therapies without having to leave their local communities.
To organize the swim, Long Beach Memorial partnered with national non-profit organization Swim Across America (SAA). For the past 25 years, SAA has been dedicated to raising money and awareness for cancer research, prevention and treatment through swimming-related events.
“The goal of the MemorialCare Todd Cancer Institute is to continue building the research program by identifying a wide range of trials that reflect all stages of care from early diagnosis, treatment and long term survival,” says Deborah Fridman, clinical research program director, MemorialCare Todd Cancer Institute, Long Beach Memorial. “Research for lung cancer is especially important. Lung cancer is typically diagnosed in an advanced stage, which decreases the rate of survival. The generous funding raised from Swim Across America will help us learn what we can do to help increase the survival rate.”
Funds were raised through a combination of direct donations, sponsorships of individual swimmers and tribute swim teams – those who swam in memory or in honor of a loved one who battled or is battling cancer.
Among the participants were several TCI oncologists including Eknath Deo, M.D., 10 year cancer survivor and co-chair of the Todd Cancer Pavilion Initiative.
“Even though I was fortunate to have been diagnosed early, I had to fly across the country to have robotic surgery – it was considered experimental at the time and not available anywhere locally,” says Dr. Deo. “Now you can have these procedures performed at Long Beach Memorial by highly skilled surgeons.”
In 2013, Long Beach Memorial will complete its new 64,000 sq. ft. cancer pavilion. The Todd Cancer Pavilion will offer tailored care plans that aggressively target cancer while maintaining and enhancing quality of life.
“With the new Todd Cancer Pavilion, we will be extending our specialized services and have the expertise available right here in the city of Long Beach,” says Dr. Deo. “I joined Swim Across America so that we can change the outlook on cancer and work to fight it together.”