The Ohio State men’s swimming team will have its first swim meet of the 2015-16 competition year to raise funds for cancer, particularly cancer patients living with developmental disabilities.
The swim competition against Kenyon College is scheduled to begin at 6:00 p.m. on Friday at the McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion. A $5 admission fee will be charged at the door for every person going watch the meet, and all the proceeds raised will go to the J. Luce Foundation’s Bauer Fund, which is dedicated to suicide prevention and helping people living with mental disabilities.
“Our goal is to pack the natatorium,” OSU coach Bill Wadley said. “We need the help of all the Ohio State students.”
The Bauer Fund for which the swim meet is raising money was established by William Bauer, a professor of education at Marietta College and an OSU alumnus, who is also a volunteer coach on OSU men’s swim team. Bauer inaugurated the fund in September in memory of his son, Grant Bauer, a former swimmer who took his own life in September 2014.
“When a person with disability also has cancer, that’s a double hardship,” Bauer said. “So when Wadley asked him if they could have a fundraiser to raise money for his fund to help people living disabilities who have cancer, he immediately agreed.”
Wadley said the OSU swim team has been participating in a variety of community service activities. For example, the team adopted a 10-year-old boy named Alex Davis, who is currently in remission from cancer and trains with the OSU swimmers.
“We are always looking for ways to do something that has greater value than just thinking about ourselves,” Wadley said. “It’s important to teach young people to be socially conscious and to be good citizens of our community.”
Sophomore Joey Long, the OSU swimmer who helped organize the philanthropic game, said he was inspired and decided to help cancer patients living with mental-health issues after reading a blog post written by Dan Brannan, who has been writing extensively on social media about his son Daniel’s experience of living with an intellectual disability while battling cancer.
“Cancer affects pretty much everybody, but we decided to help people with disabilities who are being treated for cancer because it is hard to explain to somebody with intellectual disabilities what’s going on with them,” Long said. “We hope that with some of the funds we give them, it can help raise the awareness and help people with their treatment.”
Long also said he believes as student-athletes, he and his teammates are in a special position to help other people because they are often seen as role models and get more publicity to leverage into what they are doing.
“I think one of the greatest things our swimmers can get out from volunteering and social outreaching is that they get a chance to meet and help people who are less fortunate than they are,” Wadley said. “It will resonate with them that they know how much they’ve been given in life and how important it is to give back and pay it forward.”
Having been a friend of OSU swimming team for over a decade, Bauer said he’s received much support from the Buckeyes and feels grateful for the opportunity to share his knowledge and expertise in philanthropy with a team that not only excels in the water but is also noted for its social activism and social commitment.
“We need to continue to talk about mental health, disabilities and cancer awareness, because the moment we stop talking, then it will get worse,” Bauer said.