Penguins Roll with Lucky Number Seven(th) Swim for Hydrocephalus!!
The Little Falls Swim Team of Bethesda, Maryland has decided once again to join up with Team Hydro to help beat the odds of this difficult condition by swimming on behalf of hydrocephalus research!
On July 3rd, 2018, this amazing team of age-group swimmers will dedicate an entire practice (up to two hours) to swim as far as they can in an effort to fund important research for this debilitating condition that affects people of all ages, from infants to adults. The Penguins will swim in support of research that seeks to find new treatments and ultimately a CURE for hydrocephalus.
The Penguins of Little Falls first began swimming with Team Hydro in 2012, after learning that a former teammate had lost her life to the little-known and under-researched condition, hydrocephalus. Wanting to ensure that others would not need to undergo the uncertainty and suffering that had befallen a fellow swimmer, this incredible TEAM has since dedicated themselves to raising funds in support of hydrocephalus research!
Incredibly, the Mighty Penguins of Little Falls have raised over $30,000 in support of the cause–every penny of which of which has gone directly to fund important research in pursuit of a CURE for Hydrocephalus. (Learn more about the research that Little Falls has helped support, here)
But the good that these special Team Hydro Swimmers accomplish each summer is NOT measured in dollars alone! The Penguins also help fuel a second part of the Team Hydro mission by raising awareness about hydrocephalus and letting people know how desperately more research is needed.
To this end, these young swimmers, aged 4-18, participate in activities designed to help them learn about the brain and the imbalance of cerebrospinal fluid (or CSF) that causes hydrocephalus. In this way, the swimmers can come to understand and share with others why having the only current treatment be one that requires brain surgery is not an acceptable solution for people seeking to live with the disease. The kids learn how having an imbalance of CSF in the brain can cause headaches, memory loss, balance issues, and even coma and death in a patient — and that while the shunt system placed in the brain of most people suffering from hydrocephalus can allow a person to live with hydrocephalus, these shunts are also incredibly prone to failure. In fact, the shunt is the MOST prone to failure medical device implanted in humans–over HALF fail within two years of placement–causing patients to return to the hospital for MORE brain surgery!! Incredibly, some people living with hydrocephalus endure well over a hundred brains surgeries in an attempt to stay alive!
By learning about the physiology behind the disease, the young people are not only better able to explain the need for donations, but we have seen them become even more compassionate caring individuals as well. In fact, these wonderful kids not only swim their hearts out for the cause and raise much-needed funds for research, but the kids also spend time making homemade cards which are given to hydrocephalus patients in children’s hospitals all across the country. In addition, each swimmer is given the name and story of a patient who is living with or who has passed from hydrocephalus, and they swim in their honor.
Team Hydro is so grateful to the swimmers of little falls for not only helping to spread the word about hydrocephalus, and then work even harder to raise funds to help that research come to pass, but for also truly caring about others. We are certain that thanks to the mighty Penguins of Little Falls, one day a treatment which does not require brain surgery, and eventually a CURE will be found for this difficult condition!
Wish them luck by supporting their efforts here!
Penguins Swim for Sixth Year in a Row in 2017!!
In an amazing show of dedication, compassion, and incomparable support, the Mighty Penguins of Little Falls will once again take to the water to raise awareness and funds for Hydrocephalus Research! On July 5th, the swimmers will dedicate an entire practice (up to two hours) to swim as far as they can as a team in an effort to fund important research for this difficult condition!
This amazing community swim team, made up of swimmers aged 4 to 18, is demonstrating true leadership in action by once again committing to hold a Swim for Hydrocephalus event, where they hope to exceed their fundraising goal of $7,000! As with all Team Hydro Swims, 100% of funds donated will go directly to fund hydrocephalus research!
Little Falls joined with Team Hydro seven years ago after learning that one of their former teammates had passed from complications of the condition in 2010! The Mighty, compassionate, and determined, Penguins have been devoted to the Cause ever since, and, in an effort to prevent the suffering of others, have already raised well over over $25,000 to find a cure for hydrocephalus! (Check out the Team Hydro research update on our homepage to see how that money is already working to fund promising research!)
But, the Penguins won’t just be raising funds–This Team has become a committed group of leaders with regard to Raising Awareness for Hydrocephalus as well!
During the summer, the Team will take part in educational activities designed to increase their understanding of the condition. They will make cards for hospitalized patients, read personal stories of people who have passed from or are currently living with the condition, and will honor them by swimming wearing personalized hospital bracelets of support. The kids will learn how to talk about the condition to others, and just by becoming informed will help reduce the stigma patients with the condition often encounter in their lifetimes!
We could not be more honored to swim alongside this dedicated Team of Swimmers–you are amazing advocates for the Cause!
Keep checking back as the season continues , to learn more about Little Falls and their Swim for Hydrocephalus!
Penguin Swimmers needing more information on the event, about hydrocephalus, or suggestions on how to raise funds can visit this page: http://teamhydro.org/littlefallsswim4hydrofaq
To Donate Directly to the Little Falls Swim for Hydrocephalus: https://donate.teamhydro.org/Penguins
Kate and the Little Falls Penguins
When Kate was born severely prematurely, she suffered a stroke which caused her to develop hydrocephalus. This same stroke also caused her to acquire some physical difficulties including hemiplegia, where one side of her body did not work as well as the other. In order to combat this difficulty, Kate’s parents encouraged her to learn to swim at an early age as a form of physical therapy. Because swimming required her to use both sides of her body equally, it proved to be a great form of exercise for Kate. What her parents never anticipated however, was what a wonderful experience swimming would be for every other aspect of Kate’s life.
When Kate was six, she had the great privilege of joining her neighborhood swim team in Bethesda Maryland–The Little Falls Penguins! Though a skinny awkward little girl with medical challenges, Kate was welcomed onto the team with the same gusto as any other neighborhood child! What a joy that was for Kate! She attended practice regularly and under the guidance of wonderful coaches and doting older teammates, Kate learned from example the importance of hard work and determination, of team spirit and dedication. Alongside a wonderful group of teammates, Kate grew and developed as a swimmer, and a person!
Kate loved being a Penguin, just as she treasured her subsequent experiences with the ASIJ and Del Amigo swim teams after the family moved from Maryland. The lessons she learned and friendships she developed while swimming were among the most meaningful and joyous of her life. Even as complications from her illnesses continued to mount, Kate often credited her experiences with Swim Team as having provided her with strength and values upon which she continued to rely and build as she faced challenges to the end.
Using their Strength to Serve: Little Falls Penguins to Swim for Hydrocephalus!
(From 2015) Team Hydro is proud to announce that The Mighty Penguins of Little Falls Swim Team will once again take to the water this summer to raise funds and awareness for Hydrocephalus Research! For the 4th 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 Fundraiser 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 Swim Fundraiser 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! Parent Swim 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, and share with others the desperate need for more research on this difficult neurological condition!
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 here: http://tinyurl.com/
You can read more about Team Hydro’s wonderful connection with the Little Falls Swim Team below:
When former Little Falls teammates heard that Kate had lost her life to this condition in 2010, they began to reconnect over facebook to express their sadness and shock at her passing. Stories of experiences shared with a skinny and sweet, but inexplicably determined and successful, young swimmer were remembered and recounted, and soon the group began to bond once again over shared memories of lessons learned during happy times spent together at Litttle Falls.
Although many of the teammates had not seen each other in years, they soon determined to unite once again–and turn their happy memories into something even more positive– a commitment to help make sure that others with hydrocephalus would not have to suffer as their teammate had been forced to suffer. Learning about Team Hydro’s Alcatraz swim for hydrocephalus research, theformer penguins longed to help the cause, but traveling across the country to San Francisco precluded many of them from participating (it is well known that while they are great swimmers, most penguins have difficulty flying).
Being the positive Penguins they were, however, their feathers weren’t ruffled for long! When Sharkfest organizers coincidentally announced a Potomac Swim, the Little Falls teammates hatched a plan to bring Team Hydro to the East. A core group of amazing Penguins jumped at the chance to spread the Team Hydro Message throughout the Nation’s Capital, and Team Hydro: Potomac was formed!
Beginning in June of 2012, a group of Team Hydro Swimmers will battle the currents of the mighty Potomac River to fight Hydrocephalus. The swimmers will enter the water in Maryland and attempt the crossing to Virginia at a point where the river is almost 2 miles wide!
Using their skill, compassion, and dedication to unite in friendship behind our important cause, the members of Team Hydro: Potomac embody the principles that have made Team Hydro what it has been from the beginning. We are so grateful for and proud of our dear Penguin friends who are helping to ensure hydrocephalus research will continue until no more lives are lost to this terrible condition!!
While the ranks of Team Hydro: Potomac are still growing, the intrepid inaugural swimmers include: Ben Graham, Bill Whitty, Collin Denney, Michelle Whitty Connolly, Patrick and Sarah Fogarty, Peter and Sam Finlayson, and former coaches Jeremy Kranowitz, and Colleen Langan Maietta.
The members of Team Hydro: Alcatraz have, from the start, been full of wonderful swim and water polo teammates who use their skill, compassion and dedication to support others in the fight against hydrocephalus.
Team Hydro: Potomac is no exception to this fact, as its beginnings are the direct result of the special bond that forever unites teammates. It is with great love, admiration and gratitude that we welcome our Team Hydro:Potomac Swimmers to our fight against Hydrocephalus!