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High School Athlete Swims for a Cure

This is an inspiring story about a high school swimmer going above and beyond to raise money, awareness and support for cancer patients.

Jillian Bacon, an upcoming freshmen at her local high school, was part of a 20- person group that performed a relay swim across Lake Michigan on July 31, 2015 to raise money for cancer research. Bacon and her uncle, Peter Gerngross, will reportedly cover 7-8 miles of the 43-mile course in shifts, some of which will come overnight. According to USA Today High School Sports, it’s by far the longest swim she’s done and the only one in the dark. She’s said to have already, she’s allegedly raised well over her goal of $5,000 and even has her own fundraising page.

Bacon has lost three of her loved ones including her grandmother, great uncle and great aunt, due to cancer, so she has a strong personal motivation in hoping to raise money to find a cure. All of the money generated by her and the event went to Rush University Medical Center, where Bacon’s own great uncle was treated.

The course spanned 43 miles, which the 20 participants attempted to cover together in groups of two or three. Bacon and her uncle were in the same group, and each swam between 45 minutes and an hour and 15 minutes. In between, they boarded boats for two or three hours until their shift came up again. The swim would be a draining task for anyone, let alone a girl who is just beginning high school. But with her uncle by her side, stroke for stroke, and a drive to eradicate cancer, Bacon’s long journey may not have been so daunting.

You were also able to follow Bacon’s progress on Twitter! A GPS tracker created an orange line on a virtual map of Lake Michigan, pinging in the location of the swimmers every 15 minutes. Those interested can also help donate to the cause online at


Mason Kern, The Sports Watchdog, spotlights newsworthy current events and happenings in the world of pro, college and youth sports as well as notable sports and fitness gadgets and gear. Mason frequently appears as a sportscasting guest on various TV and radio programs, including Good Morning Arizona, KUSI-TV San Diego, NBC Sports Radio Phoenix and more. View his TV segment clips online at Reach Mason on Twitter @ASportsWatchdog, on Facebook at and on LinkedIn at





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