With Groningen Swim Challenge approaching, athletes and aspiring swimmers prepare to swim through Dutch canals all in the name of fundraising for cancer research.
February 4th is World Cancer Day, a day that aims to raise awareness of a disease that affects over 18 million people worldwide and calls for further research and funding. Groningen Swim Challenge is a charity event that does exactly that.
Since its debut in August 2014, the Groningen Swim Challenge has been a fundraising success, raising almost one million euros for the Cancer Research Fund at Groningen’s University Hospital (UMCG).
For the foundation, this event is about raising money as much as it is about sports. Swimmers not only have a fundraising challenge but can test their physical abilities and choose to swim up to 50 kilometers with their team.
35 kilometers for charity
Arianne Kooijinga (22) is one of the swimmers participating in the upcoming edition on August 26th. She is already preparing for the event, raising money and training multiple times a week, although swimming is and has always been part of her life.
“I started swimming when I was six,” she says. Since then, Arianne has not left the swimming pool, participating in competitions and championships all over the country and competing for Fresno Pacific University in the USA. She currently studies physiotherapy with a specialization in sports and swims at Groningen’s student swimming club De Golfbreker.
Along with 5 other people, Arianne and her team will be participating in the Classic Challenge, swimming through the canals from the village of Zoutkamp right into the heart of Groningen. A total of 35 kilometers. In this event, all efforts, both financial and physical, go directly into the foundation’s goal, with every single euro raised by the participants ‘going directly’ to the UMCG Cancer Research Fund.
“Makes you feel like you can actually do something for it”
Arianne has lost people close to her to cancer, including her dad. He used to love swimming and supported her swimming ambitions. This event “gives you something to hold on to,” she explains.
Cancer is the second most deadly disease for humans, accounting for almost 10 million deaths annually. Organizations like World Cancer Day state millions of lives could be saved each year if strategies for prevention, early detection, and treatment were improved. Strategies that Groningen Swim Challenge aim to fund.
For Arianne, this Groningen Swim Event has a multitude of meanings, a passion, a challenge, and a tribute.
For anyone interested in contributing or participating in the Groningen Swim Challenge, check out the official website of the event to find out more: https://www.groningenswimchallenge.nl/