August will mark the 21 mile swim for Shiley Eye Center’s Marc Lewis, M.D.
Marc Lewis, M.D., anesthesiologist from UCSD’s Shiley Eye Center, will swim the 21 mile English Channel in August 2007 for charity. The Strait stretches from Dover, England across the Atlantic Ocean to Calais, France through waters averaging a chilly 60o Fahrenheit. The official Channel Swimming Association requires that the swim be made without the aid of thermal protection (such as a wetsuit) flotation devices or fins. The swim, attempted by less than 1,000 people, will last from 7-20 hours. The charity Lewis has chosen to represent is the 4sight4children Fund at the UC San Diego Shiley Eye Institute.
The mission of 4sight4children (formerly known as the Blind Baby Fund) is to aid children and their families from all parts of the world that lack financial resources for critical eye care. The fund provides urgently needed eye surgery, hospital costs, lodging and transportation for families in need during their lengthy stays in San Diego. After comprehensive treatment at the UC San Diego Shiley Eye Institute, these children go on to lead productive lives with the gift of eyesight. Recently, a six month old baby and his mother flew in from Indiana for follow up care from a corneal transplant that took place when he was just 3 weeks old. The 4sight4children Fund has been able to help children from Israel, Turkey, Japan, Mexico, and the United States. Lewis was the anesthesiologist during many of the cornea transplants performed for these children.
Lewis made his decision earlier last year to swim the Channel and, as an anesthesiologist at the Shiley Eye Center, elected this worthy cause for his fundraising efforts. Lewis has been ocean swimming for close to 10 years. Most recently, he trained for 12 months to be the 121st swimmer to complete the 20.4 mile swim from Catalina Island to the California coast. The documentary, Catalina Quest, was filmed and directed by his brother, Stephen Lewis and is available on “YouTube.” Lewis was also part of the first relay to ever successfully swim the 40 mile distance from Santa Barbara Island to the mainland in 2006.
To prepare for the official Channel swim in August, Lewis swims 15-30 miles per week. One third of the workout is interval training with the UC San Diego Masters swimming program, and two thirds is year round ocean swimming without a wetsuit. Longer swims start at 10 miles and build to 16 miles on 4 week cycles. Anticipating the actual swim in August, Lewis said, “My goal is to do the best swim I am capable of doing in the conditions I face that day.”
Lewis’ wife, Susan, and two sons, 11 year-old Thad, and 6 year-old Evan, will accompany Lewis to England and be on the pilot boat navigating the swim across the busy channel. Along with his family, Lewis’ support crew will include Marathon Swimming Hall of Famer, David Clark, who coached his Catalina swim, along with Margaret Clark, who was the official observer on his Catalina swim. Alongside the pilot boat, Lewis will be swimming solo, without pace swimmers or kayakers. Throughout the swim, he will be fed from the boat by his support crew.
To learn more about the 4sight4children fund or to support Marc Lewis with a donation, please visit the Shiley website.
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