Hospice fundraiser to make a splash on Saturday | SkyHiNews.com

Hospice fundraiser to make a splash on Saturday

Reid Armstrong
Sky-Hi News
Grand County, CO Colorado
Byron Hetzler/Sky-Hi Daily News
ALL | Sky-Hi Daily News

The wide-open water of Grand Lake is the site of the Heart of the Mountains Hospice’s newest and most adventuresome fundraiser.

Swimmers will take off at 11 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 14, from Point Park and swim half a mile across 62-degree water to Town Beach. The swim takes about 20 minutes.

The non-competitive event got its start last year when Irmgard Mannix suggested that she and Hospice board member Jennifer Neumann, who has been swimming competitively since childhood, swim across Grand Lake as a fundraiser.

Neumann said: ‘Why should it just be us?’ and opened the event to the public. Twenty-four people registered, raising some $7,500 for Hospice, which specializes in providing end-of-life care to terminal patients.

Although Neumann swims at the YMCA three days a week, she had never done anything like the open swim before last year.

“It was a huge personal challenge for me to be in that cold dark place,” she said.

In preparation for this year’s event, Neumann has been practicing in Meadow Creek Reservoir and Lake Granby, working on becoming more comfortable with the open water.

“I just went without the wetsuit for the first time,” she said. “I’m not quite as buoyant, but it feels better without it.

This year, Neumann said she hopes to see 50 swimmers enter the race.

Spectators can cheer on the swimmers from the boat dock at the town beach.

Grand Lake Yacht Club will set the course with buoys to create a lane for the swimmers, and Grand County Search and Rescue’s swift water rescue team as well as the Grand Lake Fire Department boat will patrol the course. Grand County EMS will also be standing by on shore.

Grand Adventures will shuttle swimmers to the start of the course. Hospice will provide brightly colored yellow swim caps. Wet suits and fins are encouraged.

Registration for the event begins at 10 a.m. Participants must raise at least $100 to enter the race, and prizes will be given to the person who raises the most pledges and recruits the most swimmers. Registration materials and information are available at grandcountyhospice.org.

This year’s race will be held in honor of Craig Crippen, who died in of an aggressive form of cancer earlier this year. Crippen was an organizer for the swim committee last year and participated in the swim.

– Reid Armstrong can be reached at 970-887-3334 ext. 19610 or rarmstrong@skyhidailynews.com.

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