By Mike Watkins//Correspondent
Long-time USA Swimming corporate partner Phillips 66 has been a sponsor since 1973 and involved in the sport overall for seven decades. Today, Phillips 66 believes they can improve lives through energy, and in that spirit, usaswimming.org is highlighting swimmers of all levels who have benefited from Phillips 66's contribution and chosen to give back to the sport of swimming or to their community.
By nature, Leonberger breeds are balanced, effortless, powerful and elastic in their movement. These qualities make them smooth movers and, and in turn, good swimmers.
For Quinn, a 5-year-old, 165-pound cancer center Leonberger therapy dog in Dallas, Texas, swimming is more than just recreation or a way to stay cool in the hot summer sun. It’s also a way to paddle for a cure and raise money for cancer research as part of Swim Across America.
With a goal of $10,000 – which would raise his three-year total to $20,000 in donations – Quinn participated in the third-annual open water swim event Saturday, June 8, at The Harbor at Lake Ray Hubbard in Rockwall, Texas. All money raised benefits the Innovative Clinical Trials Center at Baylor Charles A. Sammons Cancer Center.
Both two and four-legged participants swam knowing that the money they have raised is staying local, and will make a tangible impact in their city.
While he may be alone when it comes to canine participants, Quinn is just one of many, including former Olympians and cancer survivors, to participate in the annual event that raises thousands for research as well as awareness and hope.
Quinn’s owner and handler Peggy Walker, says his love of swimming and people – Leonberger’s are very good pets, especially for families with young children – made this a great way to get involved with Swim Across America, a 501(c)(3) dedicated to raising money and awareness for cancer research, prevention and treatment through swimming- related events.
With the help of hundreds of volunteers nationwide and past and current Olympians, SAA is helping find a cure for cancer through athleticism, community outreach and direct service.
“Quinn (who has webbed feet) loves the water, and fortunately for us, we can use his love of swimming to help people facing cancer,” said Walker, a cancer survivor herself.
Proceeds from SAA benefit the Innovative Clinical Trials Center at Baylor Charles A. Sammons Cancer Center at Dallas, where Quinn works as a therapy dog bringing joy and comfort to patients facing devastating diseases.
The Baylor Health Care System is a not-for-profit, faith-based supporting organization providing services to a network of acute care hospitals and related health care entities that provide patient care, medical education, research and community service. Baylor recorded more than 2.8 million patient encounters and $502 million in community benefit in fiscal year 2011 according to the Texas Department of State Health Services. Baylor’s network of more than 300 access points includes 30 owned/operated/ ventured/affiliated hospitals, joint-ventured ambulatory surgical centers, satellite outpatient locations, senior centers and more than 190 HealthTexas Provider Network physician clinics.
“Quinn is a celebrity everywhere he goes,” says Daniel Watters, SAA co-chair, and a member of the 1988 U.S. Olympic team. “People are a little taken aback when they first see him because he is so big, but they quickly realize he’s such a gentle giant. We are so fortunate for him to be part of our event.”
And even though he has come up short of his goal so far – he’s raised $7,000 – there is still time to donate and support Quinn’s efforts. Donations can be made at www.swimacrossamerica.org/goto/Quinn.
To learn more about Swim Across America, visit www.swimacrossamerica.org.