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Eastern swimmer's passion for her sport benefitting cancer patients
By Dana McLaughlin Sports Information Intern
Since grammar school, Eastern Connecticut State University sophomore Darcy Jensen of Orange has combined her love of swimming with a concern for others for the benefit of cancer victims.
Darcy Jensen (above and right)
A second-year member of the Eastern women's swim team, Jensen participated in a SWIM Across the Sound Charity event for the tenth consecutive year. The charity is run by St. Vincent's Medical Center in Bridgeport and hosts several types of events annually whose proceeds are put towards helping cancer patients. The event Jensen has participated in since she was in fourth grade is a swim-a-thon type event put on by the SWIM Across the Sound Foundation.
Jensen got involved at such a young age after a relative was diagnosed with breast cancer, and she has been participating annually since. The event she participates in takes place at the Fairfield University pool and there are several ways that people can participate. Swimmers can get pledges per lap, or they can collect general donations.
"My first year, my aunt pledged $5 per lap, I swam 105 laps that year so she had to pay $525 to the SWIM Across the Sound Fund," remembers Jensen, a two-year member of the Eastern program who participates in the freestyle and backstroke. "But after the first year, everyone learned to just donate a flat fee rather than waiting to hear how many laps I swam."
Before Jensen participates, she makes efforts to reach out to family and friends by sending messages informing people of the event, what it supports, and how to get involved. She generally swims about 200 laps each time - depending upon her fitness level in any given year - which means about two hours of non-stop swimming.
The Fund was started by St. Vincent's Medical Center in 1987 with the original event of the 25 kilometer swim from Port Jefferson, NY to Captain's Cove in Bridgeport. Since then it has evolved into 35 separate events from individual swim-a-thons to luncheons to walk/run events.
The dollars raised by this organization provides cancer education, screening, prevention programs, and helping individual cancer patients on a case-by-case basis with specific needs such as transportation to treatments and appointments, medication assistance, and support groups.