Raising MS Awareness with Every Lake I Swim

Raising MS Awareness with Every Lake I Swim

Sierra Nevada Open Water –  2021 Swim Trifecta

Courtesy of Richard “Dix” Gardner, Sierra Nevada Mountains, California.

Richard Gardnernickname Dix, swims on high. An American open water swimmer with multiple sclerosis (MS), he specializes in high-altitude swimming. He is picking up where he left off in 2019 with his Sierra Nevada Open Water 4 MS campaign.  He swims the high-altitude lakes in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California in order to raise awareness of MS.

Dix explains, “In just a few short weeks , I will head back into the Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains where in 2014 my inspiration for Sierra Nevada Open Water 4MS was born. I stood on the deck of the June Mountain ski lodge – overlooking the glimmering blue-green waters of June and Gull Lakes – and it came to me, ‘One day I want to be swimming those lakes and others throughout the Sierra Nevada Mountains Raising MS Awareness’. 

On July 30th and 31st, I will doing just that, realizing my epiphany of seven years ago. I will swim three high elevation lakes situated in the Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains (1-2 miles in June Lake at 2,323 meters, 0.5 miles in Gull Lake, and 1.1 miles in Lake Mary at 2,733 meters) to raise MS awareness and funding for MS Patient Programs, Products, and Services provided by the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America.  These invaluable programs, products, and services greatly benefit those courageous people around the country and around the world living with MS, including myself in meeting the daily challenges and burdens associated with this life altering disease, and in providing us all with a better a better Quality of Life. 

Every day, people with MS live the unpredictability of this disease. They may face unbearable fatigue, balance and mobility issues, numbness, difficulty walking, heat sensitivity, blurry vision or any others in a long list of symptoms. No one knows what causes MS and there is no cure. But, with your support, there is help and hope for anyone living with MS.

MSAA improves the lives of tens of thousands of individuals with MS, their families, and their care partners each year by providing free, vital programs and services such as: a toll-free helpline, award-winning publications including a magazine The Motivator, a dynamic website featuring educational videos and research updates, the S.E.A.R.C.H.™ program to assist the MS community with learning about different treatment choices, a mobile phone app My MS Manager™, a resource database, My MS Resource Locator®, equipment distribution, educational programs and activities, and MRI funding.

I have lived with MS for the past 20 years of my life and it has made me who I am today. Always challenging me to be a better man, a humble man with a great appreciation for life, for family and friends, and for everyday here on earth.  Given the chance, I would not change a thing.

To donate and learn more, visit here. To learn about his foundation, visit www.wheniswimfoundation.com.

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Steven Munatones