On Saturday, August 12, 2017, 284 women gathered to swim across Cayuga Lake (a distance of 1.2 miles). They were escorted by 150 boaters in kayaks, canoes, stand-up paddleboards and powerboats. And they were supported on shore by 130 volunteers who helped out at Cass Park, the Ithaca Yacht Club, the swim entry on the east shore, and in the days and weeks before the swim. Joining these swimmin’ women in spirit, if not in person, were 38 women who swam laps in pools throughout our community and around the world!
The women who decide to participate in Women Swimmin’ for Hospicare do so for many reasons. Some are swimming in memory or honor of a loved one who received hospice services. Some are swimming because they understand the importance of hospice services and want to make sure Hospicare will be here to support their family someday. Others swim for the physical challenge or the camaraderie of this community swim. One reason they all swim was proudly declared on our t-shirts, buttons and posters: “I swim to celebrate life.”
At its very essence, hospice is a philosophy of care that celebrates life. Hospicare’s mission is to support our patients so they can live their lives as fully as possible, for however much time is left. Our team of skilled professionals and trained volunteers work together to provide physical, emotional and spiritual comfort to our friends and neighbors who are dealing with terminal illness. All of us here today, plus thousands of donors around the world, have come together to make sure that care continues. To make sure everyone in our community can receive the hospice and palliative care they need to live their lives fully, regardless of whether they have insurance or means to pay.
Celebrating life and living life fully means different things to each of us. Obviously, it can mean swimmin’ or boatin’ across Cayuga Lake, or back and forth in a pool!
For some of the people we support, living life fully might mean:
- a portable oxygen tank so he can go out to dinner with friends or watch a grandchild’s ball game.
- a wheelchair and a raised garden bed so she can get outside and plant flowers
- a volunteer to help her sort through and organize family photos
- a social worker–and others–trying to make sure a beloved pet finds the right next home
- a grief support group with others who are also grieving the death of someone they love
Most of all, it means there is an entire Hospicare team to make the burden of caregiving and dying just a bit easier.
All of us at Hospicare are immensely grateful for these swimmers and boaters who have given of their time and put forth great energy to fundraise for Hospicare. We also appreciate the volunteers and boaters, the friends and families who have supported our swimmers, and also to the corporate sponsors and underwriters who covered the expenses associated with the event. We truly could not support our community in all the ways we do without your amazing support.