Swim-A-Cross Plus Kick Off

I think that anyone who can move should get up and be proactive.

Athlete on a Mission

Alyssia Hudson-Grayer is an athlete on a misson for the American Red Cross. The twelve year old’s drive and determination are serving her well as the official spokesperson for the 36th Annual Swim-A-Cross Plus (SAC+) fundraiser. Hudson-Grayer has a goal to raise $12,000 –$1,000 for every year of her life –because she wants to help people and make a real difference in her community.

SAC+ is a fundraising campaign with events scheduled from mid-June through September. Teams with athletes of all ages are invited to dedicate one day of their practice to raise funds for the critical life-saving programs that the Red Cross provides in their community. Events are held at pools, tennis courts, and golf courses across Southeast Michigan. In return for completing lengths, dives, serves, or holes, athletes collect donations from family, friends, and local businesses. See schedule of events at redcross.org/mi/ann-arbor/swim-a-cross.

Swim-A-Cross Plus kicked off last Saturday at Eastern Michigan University’s (EMU) Jones pool. Hudson-Grayer dove in followed by three local teams –Y-Not-Swim-Livonia, Plymouth Canton Cruisers and Club Wolverine.

Bruce Morey, team liaison for Y-Not Swim-Livonia, registered his Master’s team online and collected pledges in advance. Joined by Maddie Diedo and Steve Erickson they swam over 15 miles and collected almost $2,700. EMU partnered with the Plymouth Canton Cruisers and Club Wolverine teams by dedicating their entire practice to support the Red Cross.

Hudson-Grayer enjoyed the opportunity to swim in EMU’s 50 meter pool for the kick off. She currently trains on three teams and has dreams of competing in the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

Hudson-Grayer found her inspiration in First Lady Michelle Obama’s ‘Let’s Move’ campaign. “I think that anyone who can move should get up and be proactive,” she said. Hudson-Grayer likes the challenge of achieving a high goal and says, “Reaching the goal is necessary, because the Red Cross helps people.”

Inspired by Hudson-Grayer’s incredible ambition, the Red Cross increased this year’s SAC+ target to $120,000, up $20,000 from last summer’s $97,000. Mary Kumbier, Regional Events Specialist, believes Hudson-Grayer’s dedication will make the difference in achieving her personal goal and will hopefully inspire at least 1,000 participants to fulfill the region’s overall goal. “Her passion and enthusiasm are contagious,” Kumbier said. “Alyssia has taken the essence of our program to heart –using her time and talent to help others.”

Speedo teamed up with SAC+ and is donating prizes to motivate athletes and increase participation. Athletes raising $125 and up receive an Olympic Heritage Bag; and those raising $1000 and up receive a Speedo Pro Backpack and $100 gift certificate to a local Speedo vendor. In addition to the Speedo incentives, participants raising $40 receive a custom 2013 SAC+ shirt in appreciation for supporting the Red Cross. Hudson-Grayer’s drawing served as inspiration for the t-shirt design.

Other sponsors included Jimmy Johns’ and Powerade. They kept the athletes fueled during the kick off event.

In so12, the local Red Cross chapters responded to 1,238 local disasters, provided disaster assistance to more than 10,000 people, and taught 165,000 people first aid, CPR, and water safety –touching 1 in 3 lives of local residents.

“Folks have seen Red Cross in action throughout the year and understand the need is great.” Kumbier shared, “Participating in Swim-A-Cross Plus empowers athletes to make a real difference and helps create a more compassionate communities.”

An average of 91 cents of every dollar the American Red Cross spends is invested in humanitarian services and programs. To learn more about Swim-A-Cross Plus, donate or to sign up as an individual athlete or as a team, contact Mary Kumbier, Regional Events Specialist: 734-971-5300 ext 259, mary.kumbier@redcross.org or visit the website redcross.org/mi/ann-arbor/swim-a-cross.