Swimmers cross Lake Washington to benefit bone marrow registry

Swimmers cross Lake Washington to benefit bone marrow registry
(Photo credit: Austin Chernich)

Early this morning nearly 300 swimmers and dozens of kayaks and support boats launched the 15th annual "Swim for Life" across Lake Washington. Many participants yawned as they struggled into wetsuits to benefit raising funds to increase the number of Washingtonians on the "Be the Match Registry" of the National Bone Marrow Registry.

The swimmers departed Medina Beach Park for Madison Park on the Seattle side after a 7:15 a.m. pep talk by Dr. Jim AuBuchon, president and CEO of Puget Sound Blood Center (PSBC).

Teams of four swimmers departed the in waves with the fastest swimmers wearing yellow caps and the slowest in pink. Teammates try to keep an eye on one another as they swim and each team is accompanied by a boat or kayak.

In its 15 year history Swim for Life has involved more than 1,400 swimmers, who have raised more than $240,000 to help recruit people to join the registry.

Stem cells derived from bone marrow transplants are used in the treatment of leukemia and other forms of cancer. Finding a match often represents a patient's best hope of survival.

All photos by Austin Chernich of Bellevue.