Malena Hankins is a mom of four, business owner, and record-holding international swimmer. This summer, the owner of local AquaTots Swim Schools is challenging herself to swim across the Catalina Channel in California with inspiration that hits close to home. Malena is participating in the 42-mile relay swim in honor of former AquaTots swim student, Leah, who lost her battle to cancer in 2012.
“Leah’s story hit me hard because of how close I was to the harsh reality of cancer and her fight against it,” says Malena. “I decided to do something about it and connected with Swim Across America (SAA) — a nonprofit program that helps swimmers use their swimming ability to raise money to fight cancer. I wanted my swim school and I to continue to honor Leah and, also, to fight against cancer that impacts so many other families.
“I am challenging myself by swimming and raising as much money to fight cancer as I can,” says Malena, who, on July 17, will be part of a relay team that will swim a double crossing of the Catalina Channel. That’s 42 miles roundtrip.
“On July 17, myself and five other swimmers will depart Long Beach, California, and swim 21 miles to Catalina Island and then back. The whole way, I’ll be thinking of Leah and all of the children I recently met at the AFLAC Cancer Center at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta,” says Malena. “That visit was awesome and real and fueled my motivation even further.”
To show Malena that her entire community is behind her (and Leah), we want to partner together to sponsor her SAA team! The money you give will go towards cancer research, prevention and treatment and will make an impact in the fight to find a cure. Thank you for your generosity, and may it lead to a cancer-free world!
to partner with Malena
You can make a credit card donation here, or send a check to Swim Across America at 11600 N. Community House Rd., Suite 100, Charlotte, NC 28277. Check should be made out to Swim Across America, but please include a note mentioning Malena Hankins’ name as the swimmer you are supporting.