2013-11-01 / Sports

Nyad Swim Supports Sandy Recovery

Diana Nyad hugs AmeriCares relief worker Hannah Bildahl during the Nyad Swim for Relief. Photo by Alex Ostasiewicz/AmeriCares Diana Nyad hugs AmeriCares relief worker Hannah Bildahl during the Nyad Swim for Relief. Photo by Alex Ostasiewicz/AmeriCares On October 8th, Diana Nyad swam for 48 hours in New York City’s Herald Square to support AmeriCares Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund.

Monies raised from that historic event will now fund art therapy and health counseling for Hurricane Sandy survivors in two of New York City’s hardest hit neighborhoods.

In the Rockaways, where residents and businesses are still recovering from the storm, swim proceeds will fund a yearlong expressive art therapy program for 150 of the youngest Sandy survivors.

The Action Center for Education and Community Development will provide the therapy to children in its afterschool program in Arverne.

The children’s parents and caregivers – many of whom are still struggling to pay for costly storm repairs and dealing with the added stress of negotiating insurance settlements – will also be invited to participate in group counseling sessions at the center.

In Staten Island, which had the highest number of storm-related fatalities in the five boroughs proceeds will fund a health counselor to screen storm survivors for medical and mental health needs.

“A year after Sandy ravaged so many New York and New Jersey neighborhoods – with literally thousands of good citizens still homeless and struggling to rebuild their lives – my Xtreme Dream Team felt the imperative to make our statement, that we simply cannot forget our brothers and sisters who are still suffering,” Nyad said. “The 48 hours of swimming in Herald Square, such a vital and emotional event for everybody who participated and watched the live stream, at the very least brought the Sandy story back into the forefront of the public consciousness.”

The Nyad Swim for Relief, a test of physical and mental endurance, and, according to organizers, “a symbol of perseverance,” raised more than $110,000 for AmeriCares Hurricane Sandy Relief Program.

Storm survivors, relief workers and celebrities including Olympic medalist Ryan Lochte and fitness guru Richard Simmons swam alongside Nyad in a pool set up in New York City’s Herald Square from October 8th through October 10th. Every dollar raised from the event, sponsored by Procter & Gamble, directly benefits programs meeting the health needs of Sandy survivors.

As stated in a recent media release, “AmeriCares has been aiding survivors of natural disasters, political conflict and extreme poverty worldwide for more than 30 years, saving lives and restoring health and hope.”

“AmeriCares Hurricane Sandy Relief Program focuses on restoring access to medical care, mental health and case management services in storm-damaged communities. To date, the program has provided $6.5 million in aid benefitting an estimated 450,000 Sandy survivors in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.”

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