Ferry swim team hosting benefit

One of the most positive aspects of sports is the life lessons they teach.

The ability to use sports as a way to give back is certainly a lesson that deserves to be taught and utilized.

The Martins Ferry Summer Swim Team will get its chance to help on Monday when it holds a swim-a-thon at the Martins Ferry pool to raise money for the Lewy Body Dementia Association.

The donations will be made in the name of Ron Teare, who is a Martins Ferry High School graduate that swam on the first-ever Ferry swim team in 1968.

“That 1968 team that Ron was on was the only Martins Ferry High School sponsored swim team until 1999,” Ferry head swimming coach Nick Levi pointed out. “They gave out letters and competed at OVAC and district.”

According to Levi, the team wasn’t sponsored after that year because Ferry was practicing with a club team, which was fought by a school and because of costs involved, Ferry elected to no longer sponsor the team.

Teare was recently diagnosed with LBD, which is a rare disease that affects 1.3 million individuals in the United States. It’s symptoms closely resemble Alzheimers and Parkinson’s, which makes it tough for doctors to diagnose. Currently, there’s no cure for LBD.

In a release, Teare said, “I wanted to do something to get the word out about this disease that I had known of until I was diagnosed. I decided that I wanted to help sponsor an event to educate the public about LBD.”

Levi, who is overseeing the fundraiser, pointed out the Riders’ summer swim team has done swim-a-thons before, but this is the first time it’s for a specific person.

“We have done these in the past, but the funds were for the team,” Levi said. “This is like a weight-a-thon, the kids get sponsors, who are willing to donate X amount per lap or give a flat fee.”

The swim-a-thon will begin at 6 p.m. and all members of the team will swim continuously for one hour.

“This is a great way for our swimmers to learn about giving back,” Levi said.

Another event is being held in the fall in North Carolina to benefit Teare, but Levi elected to host this event in July because pool space in the fall can become an issue.

“Since I had been a competitive swimmer in my early years and later in the Masters Swimming competitions, it seemed natural that an aquatic event would be a good option.”

Levi pointed out that anyone wishing to donate or sponsor a swimmer can contact Tabitha Fulst, who is the President of the Martins Ferry Summer Swim Team. She can be reached at 740-312-9150.

The Citizens Bank is the chief sponsor for the event and has pledged to donate dollar for dollar of the funds raised up to $500.

Staskey can be reached at sstaskey@timesleaderonline.com