SHELTON, Conn. — About 200 swimmers will take part in the 2017 Swim Across the Sound, an annual 15.5-mile relay to raise money and awareness for cancer patients.
But for one, the journey will be a very personal one.
Swimmer Kim Adler, a clinical nurse educator at St. Vincent’s Medical Center, began her own battle with cancer in 2011, when, at 47, she was diagnosed with stage 3B colon cancer.
The disease, which metastasized to her liver in 2012, has meant surgeries and months of radiation and chemotherapy.
"Throughout my fight with cancer, during the radiation treatments, and working through my chemotherapy, I realized that working at St. Vincent's has been such a blessing," the Shelton resident said. "Not only did they work around my schedule when I had to have the treatments done, but everyone was very supportive and it showed me how family oriented the St. Vincent's environment truly is.”
St. Vincent’s sponsors the Swim, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.
Adler is part of a six-person relay team dubbed “Sink or Swim.” Money they raise through pledges will help cancer patients and their families deal with the non-medical challenges that cancer brings and that insurance does not cover.
After Adler’s initial diagnosis, she didn’t work for six months. Swim Across the Sound funds paid her mortgage for a month.
Right before the 2016 Swim, doctors found a spot on her lung and she underwent radiation therapy. Her fight continues, though her current treatment is encouraging.
As a St. Vincent’s nurse, Adler shares her story with patients who need the comfort and understanding only another survivor can provide.
"I have always been the glass is half full kind of girl instead of half empty," Adler said. "You can't sweat the small stuff because life's too short."
This year’s Swim takes place on Aug. 5 at Captain’s Cover Seaport in Bridgeport.
To donate to Adler’s team, visit swimacrossthesound.org.
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