On April 12, 2014 I will be inducted into the Maine Swimming Hall of Fame. I feel very honored and humbled by this award.
Many years ago at the age of forty-six, I considered myself a spectator mom. I was very involved in my children's sport activities. The extent of my exercise was going for a walk around the neighborhood. I knew how to swim but I did not swim as a form of exercise. Then one day tragedy struck my family....my younger brother, Robbie, died suddenly and unexpectedly of a heart attack at the age of thirty-four. It was a devastating loss. At that time, my son Tom was sixteen years old and a member of his high school swim team. He said he wanted to swim the Peaks to Portland (2.4 mile ocean swim) as a tribute to his Uncle Robbie. My brother won the P2P twice. I said to my young son, "That's so sweet! I wish I could do the same." He responded encouragingly, "You can, if you try". His words motivated me to start training for my very first open water swim. I remembered having a lot of self-doubt about my swimming ability. On my very first day of training, I asked the lifeguard to keep a watchful eye on me because I was unsure if I could swim two laps of the pool. As each day passed my endurance and confidence improved. My love of open water swimming blossomed into a passion of marathon swimming in iconic locations worldwide. And founding the global swim event "Swim for Your Heart" to bring an awareness of heart disease and its prevention.
I can't thank my family and friends enough for their unending love and support.
Along this journey I have come to realize that a person is never too young to give words of encouragement and a person is never too old to listen to them.