Swim Across America Event to Raise Funds for UCSF Child Cancer Care

September 04, 2007
News Office: Phyllis Brown (415) 502-6397

Accomplished swimmers are invited to join Olympic swimming legends from across the country for the second annual "Swim Across America--San Francisco Swim to Fight Cancer" on Sunday, Sept. 30.

The 10-mile-long relay swim around San Francisco Bay will raise money for pediatric cancer care at UCSF Children's Hospital through pledges collected by swimmers as well as online donations. The event will begin at 8 a.m. from Crissy Field in San Francisco.

The swim is not a race; swimmers will participate in a relay swim in which they swim for 30 minutes. Due to the extreme weather and water conditions in San Francisco Bay, the swim is reserved for experienced swimmers comfortable with swimming for 30 minutes or more in open water.

All of the swimmers will be "winners," and each will receive a medal. Each swimmer pledges to raise a minimum of $2,000, and prizes will be awarded to the top fundraisers.

Over 100 swimmers participated in the 2006 event, including pediatric oncologist Dr. Robert Goldsby, director of the UCSF Children's Hospital Survivors of Childhood Cancer Program. Goldsby teamed up with Aimee Sznewajs, the clinical coordinator of the Survivor Program, and both swam in the race. The pair plan to swim in the event again this year.

To learn more about the San Francisco swim, make a donation, or to register to swim in the event, visit this Web site.

Swim Across America is a 20-year-old non-profit organization founded to raise money and awareness for cancer research, prevention and treatment by sponsoring swimming events throughout the United States. To date, Swim Across America has raised over $13.5 million.

Goldsby, an associate professor of pediatrics in the UCSF School of Medicine, said that continuing advances in pediatric cancer treatments have resulted in a growing population of survivors of childhood cancer, and physicians still are learning about the long-term consequences of childhood cancer and its therapy.

"The most common childhood cancer is acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), which was almost uniformly fatal prior to the 1970s. However, now we expect about 80 to 85 percent of ALL patients to be cured of their cancer," he said. He added that about 70 percent of all children diagnosed with cancer should expect to live long-term.

"We want to make sure that pediatric cancer survivors are getting the appropriate clinical follow-up and that they are knowledgeable about their risks for recurrence of disease and late effects," Goldsby said.

One of the nation's top children's hospitals, UCSF Children's Hospital creates an environment where children and their families find compassionate care at the healing edge of scientific discovery, with more than 150 experts in 50 medical specialties serving patients throughout Northern California and beyond.

UCSF is a leading university that advances health worldwide by conducting advanced biomedical research, educating graduate students in the life sciences and health professions, and providing complex patient care.

This news release has been modified for the website