Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

John Kenny renamed the Valley Forge Marathon Swim to the Charles Bender Memorial Swim and Relay (or the Bender Swim, for short) in honor of Charles Bender who recently passed away on March 6th.

Charles was one of the four guys who originally did an exploratory swim up the river one warm September day in 2014 to help create what is now in the third year of our 8-mile swim,” explains Kenny.

The former long-time member of the USA Swimming national open water swimming team explains, “Charles was also the race director the first year and a volunteer paddler the second year. Of all the things he was passionate about, long distance open water swimming was near the top. Thanks for the inspiration, Charles.”

Friend Sally Rose summed up the memories many people had who knew Bender, “Known as Chip to most of us, he leaves behind countless friends and his beloved family, including his wife Nancy, and sons Matt and Carlos. Chip was a loving father, devoted husband, and accomplished athlete. He possessed an amazing, razor sharp intellect, and a heart that opened wide enough to accomodate all of us who needed him. He was passionately politically active, and always fought for justice for the least fortunate.

We would like to raise funds to assist the family with funeral and travel expenses, as well as to help support Nancy and his children during this challenging time in any way possible. Any extra funds will be used for college costs for his kids.

Chip would certainly have helped each of us in any way that he was able, if we experienced such a devastating loss in our families. Please consider contributing to this fund. The family will put these funds to immediate use to defray the expenses associated with such a tragedy.”

To contribute to his fund, visit here.

Registration is open for the 8-mile Charles Bender Memorial Swim and Relay to be held on September 1st. The first five individuals to register will get an additional discount. There is also a relay division for those not quite ready for 8 miles on their own.

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