#TheCureIsOutThere With A Long Swim

Courtesy of Douglas McConnell, Barrington, Illinois.

A Long Swim will be held from Northwestern to Northwestern on September 13th. Douglas McConnell explains, “We will start up at the Evanston campus at 7:30 in the morning, and swim south to the Medical School campus near Navy Pier. It will be 13 miles of some pretty rugged swimming conditions in Lake Michigan.

On Tuesday, there were 2m waves and 58°F (14°C) water temperature so it will be a wild ride on a 7–8 hour swim.

This swim is a little different from the other A Long Swim events, so some backstory is in order.

COVID has caused everyone to change our behavior, and it gave us the chance to both get creative and to recommit ourselves to the core mission of A Long Swim: Using open water and marathon-distance swimming to raise funds for collaborative ALS research. There is a lot packed into that statement, but perhaps the most important ingredient is the collaborative part. Marathon swimming is a sport that is dependent on teamwork – the swimmer quite literally puts his life in the hands of his teammates.

Teamwork with ALS research is exactly the same, and it is clear that it is teamwork and collaboration that is accelerating the pace of discovery in this dreadful disease. A Long Swim has supported the Ozdinler Lab at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine from the beginning, largely because of the unwavering commitment of Hande Ozdinler to collaborative research. That commitment has led to collaborations between her lab and ALS research centers in almost every time zone around the globe, so “the sun never sets” on this important work. The support of A Long Swim has also led to the funding of the Ellen McConnell Blakeman ALS Research Fellowship, and the “Ellen Fellow” receives international recognition for his work in the field.

One of the most critical collaborations of the Ozdinler Lab is right within the four walls of Northwestern itself, by being part of the Chemistry of Life Processes Institute that is headquartered at the Evanston campus. The Chemistry of Life Processes Institute is full of high-profile professors who have outstanding success at drug discovery; the collaboration between the Ozdinler Lab and the Chemistry of Life Processes Institute has already led to the team being awarded the largest drug discovery grant in ALS history from National Institutes of Health.

Hence, the Northwestern-to-Northwestern swim is a Celebration of Collaboration.”

Follow the swim tracker here and at www.facebook.com/ALongSwim/ and www.ALongSwim.org.

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