The Sharks Continue to Donate

1231116_10151844173512884_1957172636_nWacky Relay Day, previously Swim for Life, has been a Chapel Hill Summer Swim League tradition for the past few years. Since its inception, the event has raised thousands, thanks to the hard working kids, volunteers and the number of teams involved in the summer swim league. Unfortunately, this year the annual event was canceled; however, that did not stop the Chapel Hill Country Club/Ridgewood Sharks from raising money. Under the direction of Laura Brader-Araje and other Shark parents, the team raised over $2200 in just two days for the Swim for Smiles Foundation.

“Our team feels so proud to have raised these funds and contributed this year even with the cancelation of the event,” said Laura Brader-Araje. It was with the help of all the families, the team, the coaches and the kids through which we were able to raise the money.

In order to continue the tradition to help the Chapel Hill community, the Sharks swim team held Sharkapalooza earlier this month. The event helped raise $960 through a festival and fun-night after practice. In addition, Mark Sperry of TCBY in Chapel Hill hosted a Coaches Scoop at TCBY. The coaches scooped ice cream for their swimmers and Sperry donated a percentage of the night’s profits, totaling $94.

“It is amazing what you can do in only two day and four total fundraising hours,” said Brader-Araje. “It really is so simple and we were happy to help.”

The Swim for Smiles Foundation has been a part of the Brader-Araje family since the foundation’s beginning. For the past five years, you could always find the Brader-Araje name on the participant list for the annual Swim for Smiles Youth Triathlon. In fact, Zoe Brader-Araje is now nationally ranked in the USA-T standings thanks to SFS for introducing her to the sport of triathlon racing.

“Swim for Smiles and Gary Kayye introduced our family to swimming and triathlon racing,” said Brader-Araje. “It is a large part of our family life now and for that we are so grateful.”

brader-arajeThroughout the years, Laura, her family and The Michael and Laura Brader-Araje Foundation have been constant supporters of SFS. In 2011 the Brader-Arajes donated a significant amount to help support that year’s annual youth triathlon. Also, this year the foundation matched the funds raised by Sharkapalooza and the Coached Scoop at TCBY.

This year SFS unfortunately had to cancel the annual youth triathlon.

“We are deeply sadden by having to cancel this year’s event,” said SFS co-founder, Gary Kayye. “The decision did not come easily. However, SFS does plan on working with local schools to integrate a mandatory “learn-to-swim” program for all kids and we hop to gain support for these efforts.”

Since its inception, SFS has raised over $100,000 for N.C. Children’s Hospital, but not without the time and dedication from numerous volunteers. SFS would like to thank Laura Brader-Araje and The Michael and Laura Brader-Araje Foundation for their years of support. And a huge thank you to all of those who have donated to the Swim for Smiles Foundation over the years. Whether it be time, donations or participation in our annual youth triathlon, we know SFS would not exist without your efforts.

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