Swimming towards a cure.
Ann Arbor, Michigan
As alumna and former MSU women’s swim team captain Amanda Mercer was preparing for a swim across the English Channel in 2012, an unexpected event would change her life—but not her course.
Mercer and five of her friends had been training to swim a 42-mile relay across the Channel between England and France and back, intent on setting a world record while raising money toward a cure for ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease. Then, four months before the swim, Mercer was diagnosed with breast cancer.
Training for the event was a welcome, though grueling, distraction for Mercer as she underwent multiple courses of chemotherapy. Despite her doctors’ doubts, she powered through and swam her legs of the relay. And she and her teammates accomplished what they came for—setting a world record for a women’s relay team and meeting their fundraising goal.
“Everything that I had dreamed of and hoped for didn’t get derailed just because I got a cancer diagnosis,” says Mercer. “That’s pretty amazing.”