Swim Across America – Fairfield County Open Water Event Adds Kids’ Splash, Raises Funds to Fight Cancer

This year’s 18th annual Swim Across America – Fairfield County open water swim on Saturday, June 29, will add a new Kids’ Splash, so even the youngest kids can make a big splash.

Children up to age 11 can participate by splashing a short distance along the beach. Parents are welcome to join in and must accompany non-swimmers or those under age 6.

The inaugural Swim Across America – Fairfield County Kids’ Splash is being called the “Queen Willa Kids’ Splash” to honor courageous five-year old Willa Kosh, of Greenwich, who is royally and fearlessly battling pediatric leukemia, specifically B cell ALL. Queen Willa is the nickname that was given to Willa a year ago after she was diagnosed with leukemia.

Photo: Jenifer Howard

Willa’s Mom, Tina Carpenteri, co-owner of Garden Catering said, “The use of Queen with Willa’s name is a fitting nickname for someone who likes to be the boss, especially when playing ‘Willa’s Restaurant’ with friends. She is funny, fierce and can gain the attention of a room with her infectious laugh and smile. Her spirit and resilience have helped us get through the hardest days.”

Tina added that Willa’s prognosis is good and she has been responding well to treatment, but she is only half-way through a two year treatment protocol that includes chemotherapy, along with steroid pulses and other medication to assist in the process of battling the cancer cells.

The “Queen Willa Kids’ Splash” will take place at the Swim Across America – Fairfield County event held in Dolphin Cove in Stamford. Participants will splash a short distance off the beach and make their way to a giant Swim Across America float and back to the beach.

Children ages six to 11 can swim independently and children younger than six can be accompanied by a parent or adult and take the opportunity to splash and play in the water. The Kids’ Splash is a wonderful way for the whole family to show their support for those impacted by cancer.

Registration is $25 per child, and each registered participant will receive a t-shirt, towel and swim cap. While there is no fundraising minimum for Kids’ Splash swimmers and splashers, they are encouraged to fundraise if they would like. Every contribution, no matter how big or small, supports critical cancer research with the swim’s local beneficiary Alliance for Cancer Gene Therapy (ACGT), which is actually headquartered at the site of the swim.

“Let’s show Willa and all those battling cancer that they are not alone – and even the smallest among us can make huge waves to fight cancer,” said Nancy Carr, event director for Swim Across America – Fairfield County. “We are so excited to bring the fun Kids’ Splash to our annual swim. We always have a lot of children at the swim cheering on their older siblings and parents and now with the Queen Willa Kids’ Splash, they can participate too.”

Three swim distances are available at the June 29th swim: a half-mile, 1.5-mile and 3-mile swim – and the Kids’ Splash. Also new this year is a High School Cup trophy to be awarded to a Fairfield County area high school team (a combined swim, dive and/or water polo team), who together fundraises the most.

To register as a swimmer, boater, paddle boarder, kayaker or land volunteer, go to swimacrossamerica.org/fc.

To learn more about the June 29 Swim Across America – Fairfield County open water swim or  to register to swim, volunteer, or to donate to the cause, you can visit swimacrossamerica.org/fc.

Founded in 1987, by Darien, Connecticut, resident Matt Vossler, Swim Across America nationally has raised more than $100 million to fight cancer. In its 37 years of making waves, more than 100,000 swimmers and Olympians have swum the circumference of the earth three times uniting a movement to fight cancer that has created a groundswell of support spanning all generations. Today, more than 24 communities hold open water swims and charity pool swims each year, which support innovative cancer research, detection and patient programs. 

Swim Across America, Inc. (SAA) raises money and awareness for cancer research, prevention and treatment through swimming-related events. With the help of volunteers, and Olympians, Swim Across America is an innovator and leader in giving hope to those fighting cancer. To learn more visit swimacrossamerica.org, Facebook/IG @SwimAcrossAmerica, and Twitter @SAASwim.