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“It’s okay, I’m okay. Big fish – big water,” I said out loud to myself.
As I started to calm, I got the courage to see if it was still there, and it was! Chanting ensued, until Yvette took her paddle, poked it downward, and discovered it was the bottom of the bay.
As I swiped my hand again, I realized she was right, and proceeded to visualize myself being sucked under by the mud.
Don’t try to make sense of it!
After a few seconds on chanting Yvette insisted we simply get back to the other side. In fact, she had already started paddling in that direction when I stopped her, and myself.
“I’m afraid of mud,” I said, and then I took a deep breath and plunged to the bottom of the bay, scooped up the nastiest, smelliest, slimiest mud, and brought it to the surface.
Extending my arms, I said, “Here, this is my fear. You can have it.”
“That’s gross,” she said, “Put it down and let’s go.”
I watched it as I released it back into the bay, and then I proceed to catch my very first stride. I swam the entire length of the bay (a little more than a half mile) without stopping.
Soon after, this idea ran through my mind: “3 and 3,” I thought.
Swim three miles (instead of the one I had committed to) and raise $3000.
Having achieved $1000, when I didn’t think I could even raise $500, and learning how to swim, when I was scared of drowning, I figured it was time to stretch my comfort even more.
Then came the kicker – I set out to learn about the local non-profit that benefits from the funds raised.
That’s when I learned that both Janice and her husband, Kevin, had benefitted greatly from the SAA Lab. Kevin had a bone marrow transplant, and Janice received treatment for thyroid cancer.
Their son, Griffin, has also been interning at the SAA Lab for the last two summers and has been exposed to some incredible ground breaking discoveries.
Also, it turns out that this lab gets its funding solely from this challenge each year.
Considering how much the SAA Lab is doing for the community, and the world, I’d like to make a special request…
Contribute what you can, and then share this story with every person you know. Ask them to contribute.
SAA has not only helped me overcome many fears, it’s also helped me to see that people often share their fears with you, not realizing the impact.
Here are a few of the things people said to me when I told them I was going to learn to swim:
“Watch out for muscle cramps – they can be deadly.”
“When you ingest pool water, you’re basically drinking everyone urine, feces, and hair.” Gross!
And my personal favorite, “People have died from ingesting too much salt water.”
It’s true, people have died from ingesting too much salt water, but far more have died because we didn’t yet have the cure we needed to help them live.