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Swim-A-Cross & Beach Bash BBQ: Red Cross Benefit, Saturday July 24

Fundraiser Is Fun for All Ages

Centre Island Beach in Bayville will be the place to be for summer fun when the American Red Cross in Nassau County celebrates its 21st Annual Swim-A-Cross, Saturday, July 24, with a huge family-friendly party on the beach.

“It’s hard to believe that this event began two decades ago with just a handful of swimmers,” said Frank Cassano, chief executive officer of the Nassau Red Cross. “We really want to celebrate the efforts of those who started this event while inviting family, friends and spectators to join in the fun on the shore.”

Festivities will begin at 11 a.m. and last until 3 p.m. There will be a number of activities open to beach-goers for a small fee. Applebee’s will fire up the grill and serve burgers and hot dogs. The New York Islanders ICE Tour, complete with a variety of inflatable games and bouncers for kids of all ages, will be on site. Terminal Ileum will hit the stage, playing covers of hit songs from the 1960s through today. Radio stations WBAB and WBLI will be on hand with music and giveaways. Participation in the Beach Bash is $10; $5 for ages 12 and under.

Swimmers taking part in the Swim-A-Cross will hit the water at 12 p.m. Participants can choose to swim a mile, half mile, or quarter mile. There will be a 50-yard swim along the shoreline for swimmers ages 8-12. Registration is free but swimmers are encouraged to raise funds. Those who raise $30 or more will receive an event T-shirt and admission to the Beach Bash ($15 for ages 12 and under). Registration begins at 11 a.m. The top fundraisers will be eligible for additional prizes.

And though the event is geared toward fun for all ages, according to CEO Cassano it is important to realize why the event is necessary.

“We continue to see an increase in the number of local disasters requiring the assistance of the American Red Cross in Nassau County,” Mr. Cassano said. “Being a nonprofit, we rely on the donated dollar to perform our mission.”

Each year, the Nassau Red Cross provides food, clothing and shelter to hundreds of Nassau residents who have been affected by disasters like house fires. Additionally, the Nassau Red Cross assists hundreds of service members each year with emergency communications and travel assistance following life-altering events—like the birth of a child or death of a family member. All Red Cross disaster assistance is provided at no cost to those affected.

Practicing what he preaches, Mr. Cassano will attempt the half-mile swim this year. He has also issued a challenge to swimmers, daring them to raise more funds than he does.

“If anyone can raise more money than I do this year,” Mr. Cassano stated for the record, “I will wear a clown suit to the September meeting of the board. Now, I really don’t want to embarrass myself like that but what really matters here is that Long Islanders really get involved in helping us help their neighbors.”

Last year, Mr. Cassano swam a quarter mile and raised $1,200.

Online registration for the swim is active and sponsorship opportunities are still available. To learn more about the 21st Annual Swim-A-Cross and Beach Bash BBQ, visit the American Red Cross in Nassau County online at www.nassauredcross.org or call 747-3500.