No, I'm not referring to marriage, which is often associated with the phrase, "Take the plunge."
Instead, I'm referring to a cause. It's called Swim With Mike (www.swimwithmike.org
). SWM is an outstanding organization that provides scholarships to physically challenged athletes like Jack. They're based at USC because Mike Nyeholt, who was an elite level swimmer (with world rankings) attended USC and graduated with a B.S. in Business Administration and Finance in 1978. However, in 1981, Mike broke his neck in a life-changing motorcycle accident.
Almost immediately, a close friend of Mike's - Ron Orr, set out to raise money through a swim-a-thon for an adaptive van. Needless to say, funds were raised, and lots of them, so the two established the Swim With Mike non-profit organization. Orr serves as the Executive Director and Nyeholt is Chairman of the Board. Their vision has raised over $15 Million dollars for advanced education scholarships that help physically challenged athletes overcome their tragedies and realize their full potential. Over 178 scholarship recipients have attended schools from coast to coast.
Every year USC hosts the main SWM event - a swim-a-thon, while satellite events are held throughout the country. This year, SWM celebrates its 35th annual event on April 11th at the Uytengsu Aquatics Center. It's a day packed with, you guessed it…swimming and water-related activities as well as other attractions like a silent auction and raffle, a barbecue, live music performed by the infamous USC Trojan Marching Band, and participation by student athletes (think USC football team) and the popular Song Girls.
The event also attracts celebrity attention. Yup, Will Ferrell (who attended USC) has been known to show up and take the plunge, while this year, Olympic Swimmer, Amanda Beard will be on hand. So will Michelle Beadle, ESPN's SportsNation co-host, and, if you recall, she was also Jack's Senior Prom date last year.
We love Michelle and her willingness to support Jack without hesitation. I say this because she's also a great sport. Why? She's agreed to participate in the event's Belly Flop Contest. Yikes! She's a brave woman. But seriously, we really appreciate her generosity and support of Swim With Mike. She understands how much SWM has done for Jack. They've allowed him the opportunity to attend a top-notch school, pursue his dream of becoming a broadcast journalist, and experience independence and the ability to realize his full potential despite his injury. We are beyond grateful to the SWM organization for making college a reality for Jack. And a fabulous one.
As you can imagine, each scholarship recipient is responsible for raising funds so that SWM can continue its efforts to help other athletes who have experienced life-changing injuries and/or illnesses. If you're able or interested in making a donation on Jack's behalf, here's a link to his fundraising page: https://swimwithmike.org/…/fundr…/Jack-Jablonski-fundraiser/
Max and I will be volunteering at the event. We're looking forward to helping out at this awesome fundraiser, and of course, to seeing our friend Michelle Beadle do the belly flop. Two not-to-miss opportunities that are near and dear to our hearts.
We appreciate your consideration to take the plunge and help Jack help SWM.