A Swim for Healthy Kids and Communities

Posted 06/12/2015 | By HealthCorps

HealthCorps supporter, Melissa Burroughs, is setting on a brave challenge to raise money for HCU: on June 14 she’s making the 4.4 mile swim across Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay in the 23rd annual Great Chesapeake Bay Swim (GCBS), one of America’s premier open water swim challenges.

Melissa’s goal is to raise at least $2,300, the first $300 of which will help her afford to pay the race registration fee, and the rest of which will go to fund the training and year-long support of 2 HCU educators in a Washington D.C. public high school.

Melissa Burroughs

So far Melissa has raised $2,205:

Let’s help Melissa reach her goal — donate now!

Back in 1982, Brian Joseph Earley started what is now known as the GCBS, when he swam from Kent Island to Sandy Point State Park in honor of his late father who died of diabetes-related complications. In 1992 the start and end points reversed but swimming for a cause remained integral to the event: since the first Great Chesapeake Bay Swim, over $1M has been raised for charities of all kinds. Below is Melissa’s story:

  1. Have you ever participated in a swim such as this before?

I have never done a big open water swim before, but I’ve competed in a lot of competitions.

  1. How have you been preparing for the swim?

I’ve been doing a lot of swimming in the pool (3-4 times a week) and I’ve also done a few swims in the open water: my family went on vacation in Hawaii and I used that opportunity to get in the ocean. Most of my preparation has been focused on the physical training, but I’ve also been conscious about eating healthy and maintaining good sleep habits.

  1. How did you first become interested in HealthCorps?

I learned about HealthCorps in meeting Briana Webster, Senior Manager of HCU. I grew up swimming and being pretty active, which was always something that shaped my life. It helped me develop healthy habits and it helped me become confident in myself, and created a whole support system that I would fall back on. As I got older, I realized how healthy behavior could be limited by a person’s background or resources, and that not everybody has the means to participate. Throughout my time in college and since I moved to DC, I’ve been looking for things to get involved in that will help other people have the opportunities that I did to build a healthy lifestyle. And HealthCorps, when I found out about it, approached the problem from the resource level and from the base of the problem. Starting young I think is incredibly influential. And that was really appealing to me. The organization and the fact that there is a Living Labs in DC were really exciting for me and I wanted to be involved in any way that I could.

  1. When you’re not swimming, what do you do?

I work at a health care advocacy organization, Families USA. I work on policy there. I also love to be outside hiking or doing anything related to water, reading, and traveling.

  1. Are you nervous in any way?

Yes. It’s big. I think I’ll be prepared, but you never know with open water. It’s in a bay so conditions can be crazy. There can be waves; it can be choppy; the water can be cold. There are things you just can’t predict. So yes, I’m a little nervous.

  1. What does this swim mean to you? What do you hope the swim will mean for other people?

I hope that it will be meaningful for people that have supported me throughout my swimming (swim coaches, parents, people that I swam with, people in the swimming community). I hope for them it’s something that they see as a milestone that they helped make possible. And I also hope that for the people I’ve gotten involved, they’ll see what people can accomplish with healthy behaviors, and I’ll inspire them to help everyone to have the same opportunities. I also hope that it helps other people be inspired to push themselves, to accomplish a goal and to use that for some other greater good.

Best of luck, Melissa!

To donate to Melissa’s indiegogo campaign, please click here.

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