Swimmer Spotlight: Ryan Purdy

We hope you had a wonderful 4th of July, full of fireworks and fun!   The freedom we celebrate certainly is a precious thing!  How lucky we are to be able to come and go as we please and take part whatever activities suit us.

But freedom is not quite as complete for a person with hydrocephalus. For at any given moment, the brain shunt they rely on for life could fail, sending them to the hospital for an emergency brain surgery!  Imagine living a life where one’s activities and plans are always confined by the possibility of life threatening medical emergency!?!

As a case in point,  just last year one of your fellow team hydro swimmers, Ryan Purdy, who also happens to live with shunt dependent hydrocephalus, was all set and ready to swim with us at Sharkfest. But the day before the swim, Ryan suddenly began getting intractable headaches. A trip to his neurosurgeon confirmed that the shunt his life depended upon, had indeed failed once again!  So while the rest of us were boarding the ferries for our escape from the rock, Ryan was entering the operating room to undergo brain surgery in an attempt to save his life! Such is the uncertain life of a person with hydrocephalus.  But the uncertainty can end, IF we find a cure!!!

Let’s do what we can to help Ryan, and others like him, by sponsoring research for this difficult condition!!

Won’t you ask a couple friends today to support you in your effort to raise funds and awareness for hydrocephalus research?

If you haven’t set up your fundraising page, you can do it here: it’s easy as american apple pie, and as impactful as a grand fireworks display!!

Happy birthday America! We salute you! We also salute  Ryan,  and all our team hydro swimmers!!  Let freedom, and freedom from the uncertainly of hydrocephalus, ring!!!

If you are uncertain how to raise funds, check out some helpful hints here:


Little Falls “Hydro Penguins” to Swim Again for Hydrocephalus!!

While many summer swim teams inspire their swimmers to challenge themselves in the pool, few also challenge themselves to make a difference in the lives of others.  The Penguins of Little Falls are one of those rare teams!

On July 9th of this year, this amazing summer swim team from Bethesda, Maryland, will once again dedicate an entire practice to raising awareness and research funds for the life-threatening condition known as hydrocephalus.  Team Hydro could not be more honored to welcome the Penguins of Little Falls, as fellow Swimmers for a Cure!

The Little Falls Swim Team first learned about the difficult condition known as hydrocephalus when one of their former teammates, Kate Finlayson, passed away from the condition in 2010.   Kate had loved being a member of the Little Falls Team for many years, and swam with vigor despite having shunts implanted in her brain to treat her hydrocephalus.  During her short life, Kate would undergo hundreds of surgeries in an attempt to keep the shunts working properly–only to die from complications of her treatment at the age of 26.  Since that time, the team has worked tirelessly to honor their fallen teammate and raise awareness and research funds for this life-threatening condition affecting over 1 million Americans!

This year’s event will mark the 4th time the Penguins have launched an effort to raise awareness and funds for Hydrocephalus.  Led by parent coordinator Joey Lampl, and an amazing coaching staff, the team of swimmers ranging in age from 6-18 has set a goal of raising $7,000 in this year’s effort!  The Team will not only swim to raise funds, but will also participate in a range of other support and awareness activities including selling “Hydrate for Hydrocephalus ” water bottles at swim meets, making cards for children in hospitals for brain surgery, attending informational events where the swimmers learn more about the condition they are seeking to eradicate.  Team Hydro celebrates and applauds each of these amazing efforts!!

Please join us in welcoming the Penguins to the ranks of Team Hydro once again!
Let’s support them as they seek to help others who are striving to live with hydrocephalus!
Let’s support them as they seek to ensure that research for this debilitating condition continues!
Let’s support them as they Swim for a Cure!

Go Team Hydro!  Go Little Falls! You are Amazing One and All!!!

To donate to the Little Falls Swim Effort, follow this link:  http://tinyurl.com/TeamHydroDonate2015

Team Hydro Sets Sights on Exciting 2015 Season!

It is with great excitement that Team Hydro sets its sights once more on another year of open water swims, each — as always — with the aim of raising funding and awareness for the condition of Hydrocephalus.

This years swims are set for:

Alcatraz Sharkfest:  Saturday, August 8th, 2015

Boston Sharkfest: Saturday, September 19th, 2015


Note that there are still spaces remaining for the Boston Sharkfest Swim!  Register here!!!

And, of course, please feel free to donate to the cause!  http://tinyurl.com/TeamHydroDonate2015

Team Hydro sets its sights on the Boston Harbor!

On September 20th, Team Hydro will return to the Boston Harbor for its second annual Boston Sharkfest swim.  Team Hydro Boston promises to include an interesting list of members, including medical students, researchers,  engineers,  and business folks.  As always, we come with many backgrounds but with the common goal of bringing Hydrocephalus the funding and awareness that it deserves.

If you are interested in taking on our “Icy Bay Challenge” 🙂  sign up here:   http://www.sharkfestswim.com/default.asp?PageID=21262

And add your personal fundraising page here: http://tinyurl.com/TH-signup-2014

We couldn’t be more excited!

Penguins Take Flight in Another Successful Swimathon!

On July 10th, the Mighty Penguins of the Little Falls Swim Team, completed their 3rd  Swim-a-thon in support of Hydrocephalus!  Once again, the Penguin’s incredible effort was a smashing success; they raised over $8,000 for Hydrocephalus research funding!

While dedicating the Swim-a-thon to patients of Hydrocephalus everywhere, the team put a personal touch on the event by having each of the 90 teammates swim in honor of a particular individual who lives with, or has passed away from, the condition.   After learning about their patients’ stories, the swimmers proudly adorned themselves with a wrist band bearing their honoree’s name and were thrilled to be able to support those challenged with hydrocephalus, by challenging themselves in the water.  Parent Organizer, Joey Lampl, agreed that pairing each swimmer with a real person with hydrocephalus was quite meaningful for the kids: “There was tremendous interest in the stories. The kids showed remarkable maturity in approaching the content (which often explained just how difficult living with hydrocephalus can be), and really gave it their all in the water!  I think the swimmers felt a real bond with the person represented by the name on their bracelet”.  

Then it was off to the races!

We “couldn’t be prouder” of the kind hearts and incredible tenacity demonstrated by the Little Falls Team.  All of us at Team Hydro could not be more thrilled, or more honored to be TEAMMATES with the Penguins of Little Falls in our fight against hydrocephalus!  

Thank you Penguins!!!!

Little Falls Poised for Swim

The swim-a-thon took place in two sessions.  Above, the morning session smiles before diving in for the Swim!  The Penguins’ effort for Hydrocephalus was also featured in a newspaper article in the Bethesda, Maryland Gazette! Check it out here:

LF Newspaper

Go Team Hydro, and Go Little Falls!  Hoo Haa!!  

Go Team Hydro Penguins!

Go Team Hydro Penguins!

Pysch Board???????????????????????????????


Why we do What we do….

It is easy to get caught up in our lives.  Whether we are overwhelmed by the acute stress of tragedies, worn down by the relentlessness of chronic challenges, or simply distracted by the mundane tasks of day to day living, it happens to us all.  We also occasionally have those moments of clarity — where everything makes sense, where our priorities are clear.

I just came across the last two messages I exchanged with my sister, Kate, not TOO long before she was hospitalized for what proved to be the last time.  This is a little more personal than I typically like to be, but I wanted to share this as a reminder of why we do what we do.  I miss my sister every day.  For me, this is a good reminder to live my life in a way to make her smile whenever she looks down on me.

Hydrocephalus is a condition affecting REAL people in REAL ways.  People feel alone.  Misunderstood.  Hopeless.  Helpless.  It doesn’t need to be that way.  It shouldn’t be that way.  None of us are ever REALLY alone, even if we REALLY feel alone.  Someone somewhere understands what we’re going through.  As long as we keep putting one foot in front of the other, there is always hope, and we’re never helpless.


To any out there feeling worn out or run down, know you’re loved.  Things will get better, even if we don’t know how or when.  They will.   Treat those around you with love and respect.  Build them up.  Never miss a chance to help or uplift.  Live your life such that YOU will be proud of the way YOU’VE lived — You never know when an interaction will be the last — or who may be smiling down on you.

~Peter Finlayson

Support the Cause: http://tinyurl.com/PFTH2014


Using their Strength to Serve: Penguins to Swim Again for Hydrocephalus Research!!

Team Hydro is proud to announce that The Mighty Penguins of Little Falls Swim Team will once again take to the water to raise funds and awareness for Hydrocephalus Research!  On July 10th, for the 3rd year in a row, this amazing summer recreational Swim Team from Bethesda, Maryland will put their personal racing goals aside, and instead hold a Swim-a-thon for Hydrocephalus Research!


The Penguin swim team, known throughout their Montgomery County Swim League for having exceptional team spirit and comraderie, is comprised of about 90 swimmers ranging in age from 5-18.  Swimmers from the youngest age group on up will obtain sponsors and then swim as many laps as they can to gain donations for the Team Hydro Cause.  Every penny raised will go directly to Hydrocephalus Research!!

Little Falls first became involved with Team Hydro in 2012 after learning that Kate Finlayson, a former swimmer and Penguin teammate, had died from hydrocephalus after years of struggling to treat this difficult and incurable condition.  Learning how Kate had endured more than 100 brain surgeries in a effort to stay alive, the Team decided to do what they could to stop such suffering.  Within a matter of weeks, thanks to the dedication and leadership of parent coordinator Nancy LaVigne (who has two young sons on the team), the Little Falls / Team Hydro Swim-a-thon for Hydrocephalus was born! In just two short summers, the Team has already raised over $10,000 for Hydrocephalus Research!!

Passionate about their effort to help find a cure for Hydrocephalus, the Team has once again set a goal of raising $5000 during the 2014 Swim-a-thon!  Parent Swim-a-thon Coordinator Joey Lampl, has been working hard for weeks to ensure the swimmers are ready for the Big Day.  In order to make the event as meaningful as possible for all involved, the penguins will have opportunities to learn about hydrocephalus so that they can better understand the condition they are working so hard to support.  The kids will make cards to send to patients in hospitals across the country, will play games which teach hydrocephalus facts, and will listen to stories of people who are living with the condition.


The swimmers will also be paired, as special “Teammates”, with a person who is currently living with hydrocephalus, or who has passed from the condition.  Each penguin swimmer will receive a hospital band with a real patient’s name, along with a copy of their personal hydrocephalus story. The hospital bands will be worn for a week leading up to and through the swim, and will allow each swimmer to dedicate their effort in honor of a real person. We hope this pairing will allow the swimmers to feel more personally connected to the 1.2 million very real individuals in this country who are desperately hoping that some day, through research and effort, a CURE for hydrocephalus will be found.


The hospital bands will also serve as conversation starters for the kids with friends, family, and supporters–as people ask why the swimmer is wearing a hospital band, the penguins will be given opportunities to explain their participation in the Little Falls Team Hydro Swim-a-thon, and share with others the desperate need for more research on this difficult neurological condition to occur!


Team Hydro is so happy and honored to welcome the Penguins to its Roster once again, in 2014!!  We are certain that every Team Hydro Swimmer, donor, and on-land supporter, past and present, joins us in saluting these wonderful young athletes!!! We will be rooting for you from all over the USA as you Swim for a Cure, and then complete your own competitive season! Go Penguins!

YOU can donate to the Little Falls / Team Hydro Swim-a-thon here:  http://tinyurl.com/LF4hydro2014 





Genentech Honors Team Hydro



Genentech, Inc. a biotechnology corporation headquartered in the Silicon Valley of California, recently announced it will be contributing $3,000 to the Team Hydro effort to fund hydrocephalus research!!   Committed to supporting the community in which it resides, each year Genentech chooses several service organizations in which employees are engaged, and then makes a donation on the employee’s behalf.  Team Hydro could not be more excited to have been selected to receive such a donation in 2014!  The Company also sent an article to its over 12,000 Genentech employees highlighting Team Hydro and our efforts to raise awareness and funds for hydrocephalus research!

Team Hydro sends a big THANK YOU to Genentech for their generous support!

Thanks too, to every Team Hydro swimmer, donor, and on-land supporter, for helping us continue to raise awareness, and make a difference for those living with hydrocephalus!

Read the Genentech article below:


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