For the last six years TruQua Enterprises’ Co-Founder and Partner, Scott Cairncross heads to the waters of Lake Michigan for an endurance testing swim in support of Swim Across America. He recently sat down with Swim Across America, to share his journey.
How did you come across SAA? What made you support SAA in the first place? How long have you supported SAA?
In 2012, I was diagnosed with testicular cancer. I was heartbroken but pushed forward. I went under the knife and in partnership with my amazing urologist Dr. Chris Coogan from Rush and my great radiation specialists at Uropartners I prescriptively addressed my cancer as best I could. My very dear and beloved friend Raul Juarez who was also my housemate for a period had recommended a swim club at the West Loop Athletic Club in West Loop Chicago. I began to religiously attend the masters swim sessions at WAC every Saturday morning. After a few years Raul mentioned a cancer fund raising activity that the masters group participated in every year SAA. I was intrigued and motivated to help given that I was a cancer survivor and my treatment was driven by a doctor from Rush Hospital, the recipient of the fundraising activities for SAA in Chicago.
My support for SAA was driven my desire to help all of those that were hit with that horrible statement from a doctor anywhere “It’s cancer”. I have been supporting SAA since 2016 and I am dedicated to continuing my support for years to come.
In the middle of a pandemic, what makes fundraising for Swim Across America feel relevant?
The fact that we are in the middle of arguably one of the worst events in modern history impacting the entire world doesn’t (unfortunately) stop people from getting cancer. The pandemic doesn’t stop people from dying of cancer. In fact, this exacerbates the situation for people getting, being treated, dying and recovering from cancer. Hospitals and hospital staff are truly being pushed to their limits and normal folks suffering from diseases other than COVID-19 (like cancer) are being underserved at the moment because quite frankly they aren’t the priority of the moment.
Now more than ever SAA and organizations like SAA need the support of good people interested in helping others. We need to work together to raise money and help hospitals and research facilities dedicated to the eradication of diseases or sicknesses like cancer to ensure that all of us can live full, fruitful and most importantly healthy lives.
What should the future look like for SAA post-pandemic?
Cancer isn’t just stopping due to COVID-19. It keeps going. In fact, during this horrible crisis my first child, my golden retriever Sunshine had surgery at Higgin’s Animal Clinic to remove two tumors; one from her ear and one from her eyelid. Thankfully, they were both benign. The reality is that we will need to continue fundraising and I believe that instead of this being something centered around singular events in each city, this needs to be something that starts on the first calendar day of the year and goes year-round. Maybe we find sponsors to match us a dollar or 10 dollars or 20 dollars for every mile run, cycled, swam. Every HIIT class, boxing or CrossFit class is worth 100 dollars. We need to come up with creative ways to get money and resources into the hands of those working to save our lives. I think we need to collectively put our heads together to find alternative mechanisms to fundraise in the “new normal” that is our now.
What keeps you coming back to support SAA?
Everyone deserves to live their best life. SAA is dedicated to making sure the institutions across America dedicated to helping come up with cures and treatments for cancer have the resources they need to do so. Why wouldn’t I keep coming back to help a noble cause such as this that helped me? We all need to help one another.
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