DOVER, N.H. – The University of New Hampshire swimming & diving team joined others in the Seacoast community, raising money for six-year old Soren in his battle with cancer at the Jenny Thompson Pool on Sunday, Sept. 8.
A swimmer for Seacoast, Soren was diagnosed with Burkitt's Lymphoma, a form of blood cancer in July. The mother, Erika Cooper, is the aquatics director at UNH, while her husband Vaughn works as a professor in the department of Molecular, Cellular, and Biomedical Sciences at UNH as well. Soren will under go treatment at Boston Children’s Hospital.
To help deflate the costs of treatment, transportation, food and lodging, members of the Seacoast Swimming Community organized the event. Nicole Benson, a former assistant coach of current head coach Josh Willman, is one of the chief organizers of the event.
In addition to the UNH swimmers, there were over 200 participants during Sunday’s event. Those teams, which reached out as far as Florida, swam approximately 20,000 meters for the cause.
After hearing about Soren's cancer diagnosis, “I had a pit in my stomach because I have children, too,” said Benson, who has four children of her own.
Over 200 participants swam for 1,019,975 meters - translating to approximately 634 miles - and fundraised $18,157 for Soren and the Cooper family.
“One Million Meters For Soren” is also offering a virtual component to the fundraiser. Participants can go to a local swimming pool, swim as long as they want, and then take a picture of themselves with a piece of paper or whiteboard, with their names, how far they swam and an inspirational message for Soren. Pictures can be e-mailed to OneMillionMilesforSoren@hotmail.com.
For more information, or to learn how to make a donation for Soren using PayPal, visit onemillionmetersforsoren.blogspot.com.