Wednesday, August 18, 2010


At 8:45am we jumped into the water at Gull Island. 14.21 miles, 8 hours and 41 minutes, and about 125 energy drinks and bars later, we ended up at the Grosse Pointe Yacht Club. In the interim, we had the toughest, most rewarding adventure yet. We swam the entire distance into the wind and the 1-3ft waves that came with it. Check the next blog entry for details on the swim.

I want to thank a number of people for making this possible:
  • The Veterans; Mike Stevens, Greg McDuffee, Mike Hutchinson, Derek Weaver, Greg Erne.
  • The Rookies; Blake Kenny, Jenny Birmelin, Peter Stevens, Dave Draper, Tim Ross, Billy and Sebastian.
  • The Crew; Bill Baedke and his Seadoo, Vanessa Denha-Garmo and Stephanie Green for their wonderful PR assistance. They did an outstanding job of getting us recognized. Vanessa was especially amazing - I recommend her highly.
  • Organizations: The Detroit Athletic Club for their fabulous facilities, award-winning staff and constant support of our effort; and the Grosse Point Yacht Club - especially Fred Mihalik - for providing our starting and ending point and for their gracious support on the day of the swim. And thanks to the US Masters Swimming organization, for their national article in "Swimmer".
  • Media Sponsors: - We'd also like to thank our media sponsors for their coverage and articles: Fox2Detroit news, the Detroit News (Candice Williams), Paul W Smith and his crew at WJR, WDVD (Blaine and Allyson) in Detroit, and the Detroit Legal News. And finally, thanks to whoever sent the helicopter which hovered over us for 20 minutes near the finish. It certainly got our attention...
  • The donors: And finally, and most importantly, to all of you who have supported this effort. Many of you have donated to Rickie's Medical Trust Fund, which will provide him with much-needed financial support when his medical bills get out of hand. But many of you have also provided donations to the local chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation ( which supports people and programs all over our region. Next year we will put together a tax-free fund that will be used primarily to assist the University of Michigan's Mott's Children's Hospital and the Pulminary program under Dr. Nasr, whose doctors and staff have been so instrumental in putting Rickie on the path to good health.
  • Finally, I'd like to thank the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. This national organization works tirelessly to find a cure for CF. Three of the medicines Rickie takes daily came directly from this organization. They are one of the best run, most well organized disease oriented non-profits in the country and they deserve your attention and support. Even if you are not affiliated with them, you should check out this organization that has been written up in the Harvard Business Review as a model for others to follow. Dr. Robert Beale's "venture philanthropy " concept is what the strategists refer to as 'disruptive' in its ability to change the way new drugs are funded. They are worth your time.
Finally, Rickie says awesome job!! And he also says he’s in for next year – wants to ride in the boat. Thanks to all of you from the bottom of our hearts.

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