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Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas

Swim Across America, raising money for cancer research, cancer research, raising funds for cancer 
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Swim Across America Dallas 

“Swim Across America” (SAA), a national grassroots organization, holds dozens of community-oriented open-water swims from coast to coast, each used to raise funds for local beneficiaries supporting cancer research, prevention, and treatment.

On June 11, 2011, SSA hosted the inaugural open-water swim at Lake Ray Hubbard at the Harbor in Rockwall, Texas, and raised more than $350,000 to benefit the new Innovative Clinical Trials Center (ICTC) at Baylor Charles A. Sammons Cancer Center at Dallas.

Among the swimmers at the event were Alan Miller, MD, chief of oncology for Baylor Health Care System and medical director of Baylor Sammons Cancer Center, and Carlos Becerra, MD, medical director of the ICTC and a Master swimmer.

Participants in SAA are characterized by a desire to make a meaningful impact in the fight against cancer through their love of swimming. SAA began in 1987 with one event in Nantucket, Massachusetts, and has grown to include dozens of events from coast to coast. These events unite recreational swimmers, competitive swimmers, Masters swimmers, Olympians, kayakers, boaters, and hundreds of volunteers, all committed to finding a cure for cancer. Since its inception, SAA has raised over $30 million for cancer research, prevention, and treatment.

Baylor Sammons Cancer Center joined an elite slate of beneficiaries supported by SAA, including Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center at Loyola University Medical Center, Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, and the University of California, San Francisco Children’s Hospital.

According to Daniel Watters, chairman of the local SAA committee and a member of the 1988 Olympic swim team, SAA chose to support the ICTC at Baylor Sammons Cancer Center after an intensive search looking for the best of the best in terms of cancer research and treatment in North Texas. This year’s open-water swim represented the first year of an initial 4-year commitment. “Our goal is to raise in excess of $1 million during those 4 years,” said Mr. Watters. “We hope and anticipate that this commitment will be extended for many, many more years after that.”

The ICTC will consolidate all oncology phase I clinical trials from Baylor researchers and their academic and clinical research partners in one 6,376-square-foot facility. These trials offer opportunities for patients to participate in the newest developing therapies in cancer, therapies that may be the last line of hope for many individuals. At the same time, phase I trials are an essential component in bringing new treatments from the bench to the bedside. The ICTC will be dedicated to providing access to treatments only available in a few centers around the world, including immunotherapeutic options such as cancer vaccines from the Baylor Institute for Immunology Research and pharmaceutical agents selected for specific molecular targets.

Watch a Good Morning Texas segment featuring SAA.