By Megan Kono
For as long as I can remember, swimming has been a big part of my life. From tiny tots swim lessons to year-round club teams, from high school swimming all the way through college, the sport has served as a constant anchor for me growing up. But after graduating in 2011 and taking a position on the Philanthropy staff at Rush, I wasn’t sure that swimming would have a place in my life as an adult, and I certainly didn’t think it would weave into our mission at Rush. After learning about the partnership between Rush and Swim Across America, I’m happy to say I was wrong.
Swim Across America is a nationally recognized foundation dedicated to increasing both awareness and funds in the fight against cancer. Ordinary people all over the country take part in the many open water events that Swim Across America organizes, swimming to raise money for cancer research. This summer marks the second year that Swim Across America has partnered with Rush to raise funds for research projects in our cancer center. Once again, proceeds from the Swim Across America Chicago Open Water Swim on July 20 be will be used to forward cancer research at Rush and bring us one step closer to eradicating this awful illness.
This July, employees, patients and friends of the Rush family will show their support in this fight by taking part in the open water swim. I am honored to be a member of the Rush team and to be able to do something that could make a small difference, not only for our patients at Rush, but for everyone who is touched by cancer in the future.
One of the things I remember most vividly about competitive swimming is the moment leading up to a race. During those few seconds, everything around you falls away and a wave passes through you that feels a little like hope. Hope that this race will be your fastest, that you’ll touch the wall just ahead of your opponent, that this time you’ll win. That feeling brought me back to the blocks race after race.
As a Rush employee, I’ve been privileged to learn first-hand of the breakthroughs in cancer research taking place on our campus and to see how passionate our researchers and clinicians are about their work. And the best part is that these steps forward in understanding cancer and how to treat it allow for that same feeling of hope: hope that we’ve turned a corner in our understanding of this disease; hope that we will find better treatments for our patients; hope that one day we will get there, that a cure is possible. On July 20, swimmers from Rush and from all around Chicago will have a chance to carry that hope with them into another swim. I’m thankful to be a part of it.
Learn more about the Swim Across America Chicago.