• 63°

Kannapolis, Cabarrus Rotary clubs take part in Global Swimarathon fundraiser

KANNAPOLIS — You might not expect to find hundreds of people going out swimming on a Sunday in February.

But the cause that drew scores of swimmers to the water in Kannapolis and Concord, and around the world, is one that participants in the Rotary Global Swimarathon say is worth fighting for.

It’s the third year of the international fundraiser for Rotary International’s Polio Plus campaign, with a goal of wiping out the crippling disease.

At the Kannapolis YMCA, 26 swimmers checked in during the first hour.

Ed Tyson, of the Kannapolis Rotary Club, said he’d heard about the program from members of the Cabarrus Club and invited them to speak in Kannapolis.

After hearing the presentation on the Swimarathon two weeks ago, club member Dr. Eric Atkinson helped coordinate a group of Kannapolis residents to take part in a two hour event.

“It’s good to be able to contribute in some small way to all the rotary clubs working together to eradicate polio around the world,” Atkinson said.

At least $150 had been collected so far, and more donations were anticipated, Atkinson said.

Brett Crosby, executive director of the Kannapolis YMCA, brought his sons Carter, 7 and Grant, 3, to take part. All three completed the five laps they had pledged, then stayed to splash around with others.

“We’re excited. We’ve got nowhere to go but up as far as growth. It’s great to be part of something bigger,” Crosby said.

“It’s good to be swimming for a good cause, to help people,” said Breanna Miller, of Salisbury.

She heard about the Swimarathon from a friend in the Rowan Aquatic Club.

“It’s good to help out people that aren’t as fortunate,” said fellow swimmer Maggie Hostetter.

“This was great for a quick event, put together by some great Rotarians,” Kannapolis Rotary Club President Joe Trull said.

The Rotary Global Swimarathon started in 2012. Organized by a Rotary club in the United Kingdom, the first event raised $105,000 and set a new Guinness World Record for the most number of people swimming simultaneously in a worldwide event.

It’s not clear yet whether that record was broken around the world Sunday.

But Rotary clubs around the globe had registered to participate. This year’s fundraising goal is $333,333.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has offered to match the money raised on a 2-to-1 basis.

If the Swimarathon reaches its goal, a total of $999,999 will go to Rotary’s global polio prevention efforts.

The Kannapolis Rotary Club got involved after a presentation two weeks ago from the Cabarrus County Rotary Club, which took part in last year’s Swimarathon.

Barbi Jones, co-chair of the Cabarrus Rotary Swimarathon committee, said her club had 92 people pre-registered as of Sunday afternoon.

Last year, Jones said, 140 swimmers came out with no preregistration.

“We have swimmers of all ages, all abilities,” Jones said in a phone interview.

One woman who had registered to swim is close to her 90th birthday, “and I think we have a couple of two-year-olds and three-year-olds swimming with their families,” Jones said.

“We’re thrilled. This has been so well-received by everyone we have shared it with,” said Lisa Perry, co-chair with Cabarrus County Rotary.

As people have learned about this, more have gotten involved. “It’s really exceeded our expectations,” Perry said. “Our fund-raising goal is $2,000 and we’re already almost there.”

Perry said it was a great feeling, knowing that she was taking part in an event that’s going on across the world.

“They’ve already posted pictures from New Zealand and Australia (Sunday) morning,” Perry said.

“Every club does something a little different, but we’re all with the same purpose, which is to raise money to eradicate polio,” Perry said.

Likewise, Jones said it was great for local Rotarians and members of the public to know about the worldwide push to wipe out the crippling disease.

“We want them to know that Cabarrus County cares, and that we can include the whole community in this,” Jones said.

Contact Hugh Fisher via the editor’s desk at 704-797-4244.

Comments

Comments closed.

Crime

Blotter: Adult daughters accused of beating up mother

China Grove

China Grove firefighters injured after engine overturns

Business

Salisbury VA to reopen entry, exit gates

Crime

Sheriff’s Office looking for suspect in Burlington Coat Factory theft

Elections

Requests for absentee ballots top 9,000 in Rowan

Local

Spencer approves supplemental USDA loan for Park Plaza project

Business

11 locals will make up Empire Redevelopment Task Force

Local

New finance director excited to prove himself, continue on path set by predecessor

Coronavirus

County health officials report four new COVID-19 deaths

Elections

Trump promotes health care ‘vision’ at stop in Charlotte but gaps remain

Crime

Blotter: Woman charged with stealing mom’s dog

Business

Rowan County hires Howden as new finance director

Local

Exhibit about Jim Crow-era travel on display at NC Transportation Museum

Elections

GOP elections board members resign over absentee settlement

Crime

Drive-by shooting injures 24-year-old Salisbury man

Crime

Highway Patrol: Vehicle fled after striking, killing pedestrian on Camp Road

Local

Locals to be inducted into NC Military Veterans Hall of Fame

Business

Fall fun, with a twist: Patterson Farm adjusts to guidelines, offers new version of traditional events

Nation/World

Sayers, Piccolo friendship lives on in ‘Brian’s Song’

Education

Partners in learning passes last year’s special needs fashion show fundraiser with all-virtual event

Education

Shoutouts

Elections

Former history teacher to use ‘working knowledge of the issues’ in state House race

Business

Chamber adds more than 50 new businesses during Total Resource Campaign

Education

School board candidates for Salisbury seat split on consolidation