Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.
Douglas McConnell, Managing Director of Vissant Capital Corporation, has very good reasons to keep swimming.
McConnell is swimming to benefit the Les Turner ALS Foundation.
“We are closing in in US$300,000 with all of the A Long Swim [that include his Tampa Bay Marathon Swim and English Channel crossing in 2011, Catalina Channel crossing in 2012, and the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim in 2014].
We have had probably 900 separate donors. Medtronic has been huge as a corporate donor bell cow, but virtually all the rest of the donors have been individuals between US$5 and US$5,000. Very gratifying stuff.”
He explains where the funds are going.
“The money goes to ALS research, where the pace of discovery accelerates all the time. I had lunch with a woman named Dr. Hande Ozdinler, one of the lead researchers at Northwestern, who happens to be one of the most passionate and enthusiastic people I have ever met. At the lunch, Hande said, ‘If it hadn’t been for the money that A Long Swim raised, our lab couldn’t have made some of the early discoveries we had. Those discoveries led to our recent NIH grant of US$3 million which is the largest grant that NIH provides. A Long Swim really put us in that path.’ In the greater scheme of medical research, US$300,000 from some silly swims doesn’t seem like much, but if it led Dr. Hande’s lab to US$3 million, then we made a difference. I couldn’t be more pleased.”
So what is his solution? He keeps swimming.
“We are looking at [attemping] the Strait Gibraltar or the Molokai Channel for next year, and will plan to keep the fundraising going. Once people are accustomed to writing checks, they never ask you to back off, only ‘So, what’s next?‘”
Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association