In 2008, I made my first attempt to swim the English Channel. I was 16 years old and there was nothing in my life that was more important. After 11 hours of battling waves, jellyfish and the rapid onset of nightfall, my pilot pulled me out of the water. I was devastated, but tried to enjoy the rest of my time in Europe. Back in the states I was depressed and felt lost for a little while, but I decided to focus my efforts on applying to college and trying to play waterpolo (that was not for me!). Soon after, I started my first year at Grinnell College and loved it. But during my second year in school, I began to battle with depression and anxiety without even the slightest understanding what I was going through. Luckily, I had supportive people around: coaches, friends, and my family, all of whom were willing to help me find my way through this mangled period of my life. I am forever grateful to all of them and know that the impact they made helped to make the decision to train for the Channel again. This year I will be training for my second English Channel
attempt, which will be in Sept. 2015. In addition to the countless hours in the SF Bay, I would like to focus my efforts on raising awareness about mental health. I also will be continuing on my own journey of strengthening my mental wellbeing, because much like your physical wellness, it requires a lifetime of dedication. At this moment I have decided that I would like to donate all excess money raised for the National Alliance on Mental Illness-San Francisco. So what does "excess money" mean? Swimming the channel is approximately an $11,000 venture. This year I am working at a non-profit, the SF Day Labor Program and Women's Collective as their Lutheran Volunteer fellow (feel free to check out my blog
for more details about how this works), which means that I don’t exactly have a chunk of change lying around. Though I am working on sponsorship and various other fundraising ventures, I really need the support of family, friends and acquaintances in order to make this all happen. The more money I can raise past the $11,000 mark, the more money that I can donate. Even if you are unable to donate something monetarily, I urge you to check out the NAMI-SF
website to learn more about mental illnesses, and then share something that you learned with a friend! I welcome all types of support: money, good vibes, prayers, love, advice…whatever you can give will be received with open arms. I am excited to include you all in this journey and hope that together we can help spread awareness about mental health.