The Ashland Beacon
Mary Lara Hardesty is a fourteen-year-old swimmer on the Ashland Area YMCA swim team. She will be swimming in an open water swim in Atlanta, Georgia, this weekend as part of the Swim Across America charity event that raises money for children’s cancer research.
Last year, Hardesty attended the LEAD Sports Summit, which is a summit for female teenage athletes that teaches them about how to be a leader in not only their chosen sport but also in their life. While there, Hardesty learned about a 14-year-old girl with cancer who was participating in the Swim Across America events. Knowing that this girl was still swimming and raising money for cancer research while suffering from cancer herself inspired Hardesty to join the cause.
Sadly, the girl died while Hardesty was swimming one of her events in the Kentucky SCY Championships. She was touched by this story because the girl was only one year older than her and had such a positive outlook.
Hardesty decided to join the Swim Across America open water swim in Atlanta to donate to that girl’s favored hospital charity, AFLAC. The money will go to help fund research for children’s blood and bone disorders.
She is also doing this in memory of her grandfather who passed away almost 10 years ago from multiple myeloma. Hardesty was 5-years-old when he passed. Multiple myeloma is also a cancer that starts in the blood and affects the bones.
This Friday, Hardesty will travel to Atlanta with her mother Teresa and her little sister Catie. She will swim in the one-mile event in the open water swim on Saturday. The swimmers got to choose the distance that they wanted to swim and Hardesty said that the mile is one of her better events.
On her donation page Hardesty states that the girl who lost her fight with cancer had such an amazing outlook that it reminded her why she loves to swim and of how thankful she is that she is able to swim. Donations can be made on the website at swimacrossamerica.org.
Click on the Donate link at the top and enter Mary Lara Hardesty as the swimmer that’s being supported. Donations can also be made by check with her name written on the bottom to Swim Across America, care of Nancy Peek, P.O. Box 1078, Tucker, GA 30085.