HAYSVILLE, Kan. (KSNW) – The Make-A-Wish Foundation of America receives donations from many types of events and fundraisers across the nation, including a one-off event at Campus High School in Haysville.
The Campus’ junior swim program has a tradition unlike any other, at least in the Sunflower State.
Swim To A Wish is about to celebrate its 11th year. It’s a grueling, one-of-a-kind, all-weekend fundraiser that kicks off this Friday at Campus High School.
The Glenn Crum Natatorium will be open 24 hours this weekend for the annual Swim-To-A-Wish Relay.
“We’ll start on Friday around 4:15 or 4:30, and that’s all day. It usually takes about 44 hours to line up,” said Campus head swim coach Kelly Kennedy.
There are five guys on a team, and each team swims a 100-mile relay. The Campus team added another swimmer from Clearwater, so the Colts will swim 120 miles!
“The first 19 miles, do 71 pool lengths in each of the relays,” the Campus coach explained.
Kennedy is in his 37th season as the men’s and women’s swim coach at Campus. Steve Crum has been his assistant for 30 years.
“It’s very difficult. Our babies…their skin gets dried out by the chlorine. They’re going to sleep for about an hour and a half before they have to go in and swim again,” Crum said. “We’re struggling for a weekend, but the kids we’re helping have to fight every single day.”
“It’s exhausting for these kids, but it’s for a great cause,” added Kennedy.
The Campus team hopes to raise $15,000. He tosses the other participating teams from Derby, Salina South and Salina Central, and Kennedy says he hopes to reach a combined goal of more than $25,000.
“We’ve raised nearly $300,000 in ten years,” Kennedy said.
“Our community, not only here at the high school but also in Haysville and South Wichita, has embraced this event,” Crum said.
“It’s refreshing to know that I’m helping other children the way Make-A-Wish has helped my daughter,” Kennedy said.
Kennedy’s daughter Aubrey had cancer as a child. Make-A-Wish sent the Kennedy family to Disneyworld. Since then, Kennedy has vowed to do something to help other children.
Cash donations will be excluded at the Glenn Crum Natatorium all weekend. For those interested, Swim-To-A-Wish also has a secure website at secure2.wish.org.