In 2 weeks, hundreds will be jumping into the water in Stamford, making waves to fight cancer.
"It's such a joyful and exciting environment," said Alex Lewis, a Greenwich High School senior and participant in the Greenwich/Stamford Swim.
Swim Across America has been raising money and awareness for cancer research, prevention and treatment since 1987. Saturday, June 21, 2014 will mark the 8th Annual Greenwich/Stamford Open Water swim.
"To see it on a local scale and be able to help out is honestly a really unique experience," said Lewis, who is interning with Swim Across America. "Usually you would expect "hey, how can I make an impact?" This [Swim Across America] is such a big organization but I truely feel like I'm making a difference being a swimmer and trying to make waves to fight cancer."
"To have my friends swimming in something that is raising money towards saving my life and the lives of others is absolutely incredible to me," said Nicole Graham, a cancer survivor.
In 2012, Graham was diagnosed with leukemia and put into a medically-induced coma. This year, she's ready to take part in the event in the water.
"I had complications as do many cancer patients so I developed septic shock and about two years ago, I had just learned how to re-walk and function again. So for me to be back and be able to kayak; just be be out and be active is actually incredible to me,"said Graham.
Owen Brannigan, captain of the Darien High School swim team, first participated in the swim last year in honor of his aunt – a breast cancer survivor. Now, he's is returning – with 17 of his friends and teammates in tow.
"Everyone is really excited. We have a wide array of distance swimmers and the kids who aren't the year round swimmers. Everyone is coming out and I think most of the kids are doing the three-mile swim which is exciting," said Brannigan.
The event will benefit the Alliance for Cancer Gene Therapy, the nation's only foundation exclusively funding cancer gene therapy research. Last year's event raised nearly $500,000 for research.
For more information about Swim Across America, visit www.swimacrossamerica.org.