BANGOR - The second annual Splashfest Swimathon was held Sunday morning at the Bangor YMCA to help benefit the non-profit Caring Connections.
The program is a part of the Bangor Y and Eastern Maine Medical Center that spreads awareness and provides breast and cervical health services to uninsured women.
Dozens hit the lap pool throughout the morning, some swimming as many as 160 lengths!
"It's a really good cause," Haley Connor, who swam two miles, says. "My mom had breast cancer, so it's a nice feeling to know that you did something for something like this."
Signs were posted around the pool, with messages saying 'Miss you still Mom,' and 'Swimming for Jessica", but they weren't just for those who have passed away.
"It's wonderful that survivors are able to do this too," Pat Jenkins, a breast cancer survivor herself, says. "The fact that my friend (Diane Kingsbury) can do 20 laps is amazing! I need to learn how to swim before I do any, but by coming here and supporting Caring Connections, they're supporting all of the breast cancer patients and survivors in the area. I'm really thankful that people will do that"
For some of the swimmers, this swimathon couldn't have come at a more coincidental time.
"This means a lot to me because my very best friend from high school was diagnosed with breast cancer a couple days ago," Maureen O'Malley, a swimmer, says. "She's a powerhouse of a woman, so it's kind of heartbreaking and scary."
For many, the message 'early detection is the best protection' is what organizers and survivors wanted people to know about.
"Just make sure that you always get your mammogram," Diane Kingsbury, a breast cancer survivor says. "It's very important. I had normal mammograms for many years and then I discovered I had dense breast tissue, which you can't see through, and I ended up having stage three breast cancer."
"It's a scary time, but there area resources and people in the community," Jenkins says. "The best people to be with are the people who have been through it before, and those people are at Caring Connections."
This year's Splashfest also honored the life of Colonel Frank Mroz, a well respected Bangor radiologist who was a strong advocate for early detection.