Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Susan Moody Prieto was hit with devastating news.

The mother of two young girls talks of when her doctor tells her that she has cancer.

Why me?” she writes in her Swim4Good site. “It takes me to a terrible place so fast that I have to slam it shut. Feeling sorry for myself is negative. What I’m hearing from others is that cancer doesn’t care about anything you’ve done or what your plans might be. It doesn’t care that I moved to San Francisco to make a bigger impact in stomping out illiteracy in the developing world. It doesn’t know that I have a family and, more importantly, 10- and 12-year-old daughters who need their mother [see photo below]. It doesn’t hear my youngest, upon learning the news, sob: “But I am only 10 years old and I can’t be separated from you.” Read more here.

Her husband Mauricio Prieto immediately cancelled his plans to participate in a 3-man relay across the English Channel.

But she insisted that he continue with his plans and asked him to bring back her a rock from France.

Susan’s cancer was diagnosed last week,” describes Prieto. “I had a 3-swimmer relay set for September 1st. When I told Susan that I was canceling the English Channel swim, she said that it was important for her that we went ahead with the swim. Susan said that us canceling that swim would be letting her cancer get a first victory, and she didn’t want that. She asked the 3 of us to make it across to France and each one pick a stone to bring to her. Needless to say, Susan was a huge motivating factor for us, and our swim was dedicated to her.”

The time for the Swim4Good swimmers across the English Channel was 12:13. “We called our team Swim4Good S4S where S4S stands for Swim4Susan.”

There will be tears along the way, but with Susan’s internal strength fortified with the support of her family and friends, swims and smiles will be the ultimate outcome. “After this cancer is kicked in the butt, I need a new swimming challenge. It might involve the waters of Croatia. But, one step at time.”

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association