By Lindsey Gierer
AUBURN, Alabama, March 29. AUBURN'S Martin Aquatic Center will hold the third annual “Laps for CF,” a swimathon to raise money for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, on Saturday, April 9.
But the idea for this event didn’t come from the foundation.
Emily Schreiber, a 12-year-old student at Birmingham’s Mountain Brook Elementary School, was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at age 9.
According to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, approximately 30,000 children and adults in the United States suffer from the genetic disease, and Emily is determined to help find a cure.
“She was reading The Baby-sitters Club book, ‘Karen’s New Bike,’ where Karen rode her bike for the hospital,” said Allen Schreiber, Emily’s dad. “Emily decided she wanted to do the same thing, but instead she wanted to swim laps to raise money. Her goal was to raise $3,000 the first year, and she raised $70,000 instead.”
For Emily’s first swimathon she swam 100 laps. She wanted to raise money for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and inform people about the disease.
Each year, Emily has increased awareness, sponsors and support.
Last year, she raised $85,000, and this year, Emily has already reached $100,000. In the past three years combined, Emily’s efforts and determination have raised $260,000 that will go toward research.
Local sponsors include Alabama Power, Colonial Bank, Anders Bookstore and Premiere Tan.
Emily has reached out to more than local businesses. Her enthusiasm sparked interest in Auburn head swimming coach David Marsh. Marsh offered the Martin Aquatic Center for the event and invited former and current swimmers to join Emily for the event.
“Coach Marsh read about her, and we asked him to get her a signed poster,” Allen said. “He sent her a message back telling her that if she wanted to do it in Auburn that he and the swim team would help.”
Out of all the fund-raising ideas, Emily chose swimming because she loved it, even before she was diagnosed.
“I had already swam for a Birmingham swim league, and I just really like swimming,” Emily said.
Former Auburn swimmer and Olympic gold medalist Rowdy Gaines’ will speak at the event. Free lunch will be provided by Outback Steakhouse, and the band edsel.3 will perform.
A raffle will be held with a chance to win one of two iPod minis, a football signed by the seniors of Auburn’s 2004 football team, two American Airline tickets, one of two $250 gift cards from Books-a-Million and more.
Prizes are also available for students who participate.
Fraternities and sororities are also helping, and members can receive spirit points based on the amount of money raised. The top fund-raising fraternity will receive a 54-inch flat-screen television. The top fund-raising sorority will get a $2,000 makeover of its chapter room.
After her hard work to make the swimathon a success, Emily said she is excited about the event.
“My favorite part is when it all happens,” Emily said. “It’s cool to see all the people and know all your work paid off.”
Allen said he hopes for a large turn-out.
“The idea is to fill the place up,” Allen said. “The Auburn swimmers are going to attempt to set a world record as a team, and I want the place to be full. We’ve had a phenomenal response and are so happy with all Auburn has given her.”
The event will begin April 9 at 11 a.m. Tickets are $5. For more information, visit www.lapsforCF.org.
(From The Auburn Statesman)