2010-07-29 / News

Swimmer completes twice-around-the-island swim

On Friday, July 2, through Saturday, July 3, I successfully swam twice around Conanicut Island. The swim covered 41.2 miles and lasted 20 hours and 17 minutes. The purpose of the swim was to continue to challenge myself physically and mentally through longdistance open water swimming, and to raise funds and awareness for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of R.I.

There were many times that I did not feel that I could complete this swim; however, my crew would read to me “dedications” that I collected for my website and dedicate the next 30-minute segment to that person or persons. It really helped me to think of others and to break up the enormous effort that lay ahead of me.

At the finish, I raised my arms in success and then stumbled into my wife’s awaiting arms. My family – correctly – decided to take me to Kent County Hospital to be checked out and they kept me overnight on IV fluids, treating me for Rhabdomyolysis, a muscle breakdown resulting in an enzyme release that may be harmful in high quantities. I responded favorably to the treatment and was released the next day.

Frank Carpano of WJAR covered the start “live” and provided updates over the weekend. I also appeared “live” on the news with Frank on the fourth of July. The news segments can be seen at www2.turnto10.com/sports/2010/ jul/06/coventry-swimmer-racesaround jamestown-ar-135452/.

I want to thank my crew – Rich, Joe, Lou, Ray (dad) and Jessica (daughter) for their efforts throughout the whole swim; my friends, Al and Frank, for showing up at just the right time with energy, zeal and “munchkins,” my friend, Chuck, and his family for popping up all over the course with my wife, mother and motherin law; Frank Carpano and the WJAR news team for their coverage and support; the onlookers and supporters – family, friends and others – at the start and finish; the many folks who have provided dedications, financial contributions, prayers and support; the additional media outlets that have reported on the story, and especially my wife, Donna, who continues to amaze me with her quiet, strong will and determination.

I will be the keynote speaker at this year’s annual Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s TNT Breakfast of Champions this Saturday, July 31. I have been informed that to date, we have raised more than $7,000 for the LLS of R.I. as a result of my swims.

I look forward to adding to that as I start to plan for another big challenge next year and will keep you posted as details develop.

Thanks again for your support!

– Ray Gandy

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