New Year’s swim raises funds for cancer research

On Jan. 1, Mike Cooke will attempt to complete 400 lengths of the Penticton poolas a participant in the Swim for Pancreatic Cancer.

On Jan. 1, Mike Cooke will attempt to complete 400 lengths of the Penticton pool —a distance of 10 kilometres — as a participant in the Swim for Pancreatic Cancer.

Having lost his father, Tony Cooke, to pancreatic cancer in June 2013, Cooke is fully aware of the devastating nature of this form of cancer.

“My dad was determined to beat the odds and underwent several forms of treatment,” Cooke said.

“At the same time, he tried to make the most of each day.”

Cooke is also co-organizer of Summerland’s Annual Terry Fox Run. He said the fundraising initiative is needed to provide money for research.

“One thing that really frustrated my dad was the lack of funding going into pancreatic cancer research,” he said. “When I came across this event, I knew it was something that I wanted to do in honour of my dad and to provide others with hope of a cure.”

The money raised from the swim will be used to support clinical trials at the Tom Baker Cancer Centre in Calgary.

“While it is too late for my dad, I am hoping that this important research will make a difference to people who receive a similar diagnosis.” he said.

On Jan. 1, more than 50 swimmers will participate in the Swim for Pancreatic Cancer at various locations throughout B.C. and Alberta.

Organized by a group of masters swimmers from B.C. and Alberta, the swim honours Jeanne Carlsen, an elite swimmer with several age group world records to her name.

Carlsen was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in October 2013, yet continued to swim while receiving treatment, most recently at a meet in Kelowna at the end of October.

While she had high hopes to participate in the event, her health took a turn for the worse, and she passed away at the end of November.

To make a donation to this worthy cause, please go to albertacancer.ca/Jeanneswimteam2015/participant? tab=0&frsid=15034 and click the green Support Me Today button.