More than 50 swimmers participated in Tallahassee’s first Breast Stroke 4 Hope Swim-a-thon on Saturday at the Florida State University Morcom Aquatics Center.
Breast Stroke 4 Hope is a grassroots non-profit organization that raises money for breast cancer awareness and charities through a series of swim events.
The swimmers wore pink Speedo caps in the pool to celebrate Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Laura Connolly, a sports marker for Speedo, said the company took interest in this event and wanted to do something for women who have been affected by breast cancer.
“We’re here to support this event,” Connolly said. “With breast stroke being an event, it was a fun way to play on swimming and supporting breast cancer.”
The organizer of this event, Kathyrine Scheuch, is a breast cancer survivor. When she was diagnosed with breast cancer, her swim team raised money to cover her medical costs. Scheuch said organizing this event was a way to pay it forward.
“I enjoy swimming just for fitness,” Scheuch said. “Last year I was diagnosed with stage 1 breast cancer. I really had my friends who came together and supported me so I wanted to do something to support women who can’t afford to get screenings.”
The teams consisted of five to six swimmers who each swam for an hour.
Volunteers were also on hand to encourage swimmers and keep score. Angie Stafford, a junior international affairs student from Jacksonville at FSU who volunteered, said her relationships with loved ones was affected by breast cancer.
“Someone really close to me is a breast cancer survivor,” Stafford said. “I call her my fairy godmother. We were that close.”
Donations will go to the Florida Women’s Breast Health Initiative, an outreach program dedicated to educating women about the importance of breast health.
One out of 8 women will develop breast cancer over their lifetime, according to the Women’s Breast Health Initiative. Its main goal is to help prevent women from getting breast cancer.
Marianne Kriel, a friend of Scheuch and South Africa native, said she was swimming for all of her loved ones.
“I was swimming for two aunts, a cousin and some really good friends in Tallahassee,” Kriel said. “This is something that has affected my loved ones so I wanted to come out and do my part.”
Kriel was an Olympic swimmer in ’92 and ’96 for South Africa’s swim team. Kriel said she is proud of her friend and the support from the community.
“Today’s event was a great success, and we had over 70 swimmers come out today,” Kriel said. “We raised over $6,000 and we feel great.”
Visit the Women’s Breast Health Initiative for more information on breast cancer.