Swimmers make splash against cancer at Glen Cove fundraiser

Kristin Sirignano of Clearwater, Fla., holds hands with Kristin Sirignano of Clearwater, Fla., holds hands with her godmother Joanne LaCascia of Fort Salonga after completing their swim to raise money for cancer research Saturday, Aug. 9, 2014. Photo Credit: Steve Pfost

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More than 160 swimmers jumped into Long Island Sound at Morgan Memorial Park in Glen Cove early Saturday to "make a splash" against cancer, organizers said.

Participants in Swim Across America's 13th annual Sound to the Cove fundraiser raised more than $310,000 through teams and individuals, who swam up to 11/2 miles into the Sound on half-mile, mile, 5k or 10k courses.

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At least 83 percent of the funds raised will be donated to local cancer research projects and facilities, including Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in Manhattan, Mercy Medical Center in Rockville Centre, and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, said Kevin Shine, chair of the Swim Across America Nassau/Suffolk committee.

Randy Hill, 55, of Hempstead swam on a team registered in his honor, just as he has since 2007, when he was diagnosed with a brain tumor. He is not cured and the tumor continues to grow, said his wife, Mari. But when he's feeling well enough, Hill said he makes it out to the Sound-to-Cove swim to do as many strokes as he can. This year, he did a 10k.

"Really, I'm happy to help Sloan-Kettering because I'm a patient there," Randy said, rolling his wet suit down to his waist as he caught his breath on a bench by the shore. "I help them because I see how they help other people."

The sense of community was apparent on the shore -- where swimmers staggering out of the water were wrapped in terry towels -- and onstage, where hospital representatives thanked the crowd.

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"I'm proud to be a part of what I call 'neighbor helping neighbor,' " said Duncan Darrow, chair of Fighting Chance, a free cancer-patient counseling center in Sag Harbor. "There's a lot of reward -- and, dare I say, fun -- that comes from an event like this."

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