GLEN COVE, Long Island (PIX11) — A windy day did not stop swimmers from participating in the Swim Across America charity event on Long Island Sunday.
The nonprofit organization raises money for cancer research by hosting open-water charity swims from Nantucket to the Golden Gate Bridge.
They organize 23 of these events across the country and have raised $100 million in the past 35 years.
On Sunday, participants swam at Pryibil Beach on Long Island’s Glen Cove.
Michelle Petrillo is the director of communications for Swim Across America.
“This particular swim, the Nassau/Suffolk swim, has been around for 23 years, and this swim has raised $12 million,” Petrillo said.
Steve Chestler is the top individual national fundraiser. He got involved with the organization after his wife, avid swimmer Carolyn Jaenisch died from lung cancer in 2021.
His team has raised more than $500,000 in two years.
“I think so many people love Carolyn, and I have a very amazing family and amazing friends, and everyone’s really stepped up to the plate, plus all my swim team friends,” Chester said. ”Everybody there has been incredible also. It’s just like a domino effect.”
Marvin Levenson is one of the swimming participants on Team Carolyn.
“I was great friends with Carolyn,” Levenson said. “She was an inspiration here. She swam with me a lot, and that’s the reason I support Carolyn, unbelievable lady.”
People of all ages and abilities swam different distances from five kilometers one mile, and a half mile.
The charity swim brings together swimmers, volunteers, and fundraisers who are passionate about being there.
“Cancer has touched all of us in some way, and a day like today is just a really inspiring day,” Petrillo said. “It makes you feel really great about your community.”
The money raised goes to local beneficiaries in the community. For the Glen Cove area, some beneficiaries include Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.
Swim Across America aims to make waves to fight cancer, and that’s just what it did at Pryibil Beach on Sunday.