There’s an expression we say in Upstate NY: “If you don’t like the weather, just wait 5 minutes.”
The morning of August 11 certainly tested that adage! Changing and uncertain weather conditions brought extra challenges for the 15th annual Women Swimmin’ for Hospicare. Rain and wind can’t alter the amazing sense of community that happens at Women Swimmin’, though! Whether they swam or not, boated, volunteered, or just cheered from shore, everyone present was there because they support Hospicare’s mission to provide personalized care that allows patients to live their lives as fully and peacefully as possible, regardless of cost.
Women Swimmin’ is a community swim—not a race—to raise money for Hospicare. We’re always amazed and honored by the way our community comes together to help make Women Swimmin’ happen. The safety of our swimmers and boaters is always paramount in planning and executing Women Swimmin’ for Hospicare. We’re fortunate to have a community of experienced and dedicated supporters and volunteers who help refine our safety procedures each year. Huge thanks to all of them, from the volunteers and staff from the Cayuga Lake Watershed Network, Community Science Institute and Discover Cayuga Lake who were on alert for harmful algal blooms (HABs), to the Coast Guard Auxiliary and NY State Park police who were on alert for other risks in the water; from the lifeguards, boaters and volunteers who watched out for our swimmers, to emergency personnel from Bangs Ambulance who watched over everyone. This year, especially, we’re grateful for the knowledge and alerts we receive from experts at Cornell Meteorology.
We delayed the start of the swim to see what the weather would do, and thankfully thunderstorms passed us by. The first wave of swimmers excitedly boarded buses that took them to the entry point on the east shore and the swim commenced! Sadly, by mid-morning the weather had changed once again causing the conditions on the lake to deteriorate and forcing the cancellation of the last wave of the swim.
Altogether this year, 389 women registered to fundraise and swim for Hospicare. Some of those women are wives, daughters, sisters, granddaughters or other family members of people who received hospice services. Some of them are friends who joined together to swim and fundraise in memory of a special friend or loved one. Some of our swimmers have personally benefitted from the support our bereavement services team provides anyone in our community who is grieving a loss. Of those 389 women: 32 swam laps across NY and around the country (including 2 who were also boaters!); 288 showed up ready to swim across Cayuga Lake; many had to cancel for health or personal reasons before the lake swim. Some of the swimmers who weren’t able to swim across Cayuga Lake for Women Swimmin’ swam laps in local pools as they thought about loved ones in whose memory they had fundraised. Other swimmers opted to swim in Cayuga Lake or other bodies of water on their own.
Everyone at Hospicare is extremely grateful for the time, commitment and energy all of our swimmers, boaters and volunteers put forth to make Women Swimmin’ for Hospicare possible. Thank you to the friends and family who donated in support of a swimmer, 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.