Mile swimmers raise $27,000 in Hannawa Falls for Hospice and Palliative Care of St. Lawrence Valley
Monday, August 22, 2016 - 2:58 pm

HANNAWA FALLS -- More than 70 swimmers helped raise $27,000 at the seventh annual “Swim a Mile for Hospice” fundraiser recently.

“We had 72 swimmers this year who helped to raise $27,000” said Director of Development and Community Relations for Hospice Kellie Hitchman.

“We are actually within $100 of breaking the record for the most money ever raised at this event. Donations have continued to trickle in so I’m confident we will hit that mark. It’s a great feeling,” she said.

“We saw many familiar faces of swimmers who have been at the event since it started and we were pleased to welcome a large group of 24 new swimmers as well,” Hitchman continued.

“It is always a very powerful day as many participants are swimming in memory of loved ones. That, combined with the satisfaction of completing the swim and hearing the total raised for Hospice, makes for a very uplifting morning. The energy on the beach after the swim is amazing.”

“Everyone worked hard to put on a great event. We rely heavily on our volunteers so it is especially touching when you see such a strong show of support from the community,” said Executive Director, Ruth Fishbeck. “Potsdam Recreation has graciously hosted the event each year at Postwood Park and Michelle Garrow has continued to help with beach organization and many other important aspects of the Swim.”

Swimmer Cheryl Ellis and nieces Morgan Elliot and Heather Muller who visited the area to participate helped to set up the course.

There was a strong presence of volunteers from the Clarkson University Physician Assistant program who helped to register swimmers, park vehicles, and carry kayaks. Additional support was provided by Hannawa Falls Fire Department who patrolled the water with our team of power boats, kayakers, canoes and paddle boards and Potsdam Rescue Squad was on stand-by on the beach in case of emergency. Fortunately, no assistance was needed by any of the swimmers and every swimmer completed the course without a rescue.

Still in the first year of her tenure at Hospice, the Executive Director offered her thoughts on being part of the event this year. “This was my first experience with Swim a Mile for Hospice,” she said. “While the financial support of Hospice is important to our organization, I could see the effect the swim had on the participants personally, helping them heal and grieve and celebrate. That was a very moving experience,” Fishbeck said.