This summer Rossland’s Aerin Bowers Guy swam five lakes and from Alcatraz to San Francisco, over 10.5 kilometers, raising $1,000.00 for charity: water, www.charitywater.org, projects around the globe.
Dubbed ‘Open Water 40’ for her 40th birthday, Guy transformed her youth speed swimming skills into open water challenges. Knowing 5,000 kids under the age of five die from water-related illnesses every day, she went on a mission. Guy was motivated to start swimming again when her daughter took it up.
“I never considered myself a distance swimmer,” said Guy, who had asthma as a youth, “but once I started, I just kept going.”
On her charity page she said: ” This year I’m especially thankful. Thankful for health and happiness, and also thankful for the beautiful, clean water I get to swim in.”
“I like this charity because they don’t take any overhead,” said Guy. “I just feel we can go jump in a lake anytime. It’s a luxurious lifestyle when others walk miles just to get drinking water.”
Guy set her challenge at swimming a lake for every decade, and then challenged supporters to simply donate her age in funds. Guy kept swimming – tackling Christina Lake, Lake Okanagan, Lake Chelan in Washington, the Sandpoint Long Bridge Swim (Lake Pend O’Reille), Rattle Snake Island and Alcatraz to San Francisco. And, the funds kept coming in.
“It’s a really good way to tie in a personal goal to a global cause,” said Guy. “It keeps you accountable. I didn’t want to fail.”
When she’s not swimming or skiing, Guy is working as the digital strategist with SpaceRace and volunteering with a Vision for Small Schools. She used her online marketing skills to promote her cause, so she wasn’t always asking ‘friends and family’ for funds.
Charity: water believes ‘clean water means health, income and education –especially for women and kids’. Funds raised go to building community-owned, sustainable water supplies, which differ in every region of the globe they touch. It might be a hand-dug well, a rain-water catchment, bio-sand filters or latrines. They have initiated over 13,000 projects in over 20 countries to date.
Guy already has her eye on a similar personal goal for her 50th, in an exotic location so it can be a family holiday.