Swimming around historic Tondern Island on Lake Muskoka turned into an epic challenge last summer for 17-year-old Caroline Lewitt, a young hero whose stamina and sense of purpose raised more than $5,000 for the local Covid-19 Emergency Fund.
As a Canadian living in England, Lewitt knew she wanted to do something to help as Covid-19 spread rapidly across both Canada and the UK. Each summer she spends time at the family cottage on Lake Muskoka, and as a competitive swimmer, she’d once been a member of MUSAC, Muskoka’s swim club. It didn’t take long for Lewitt to form a fundraising strategy. She’d put her love of swimming and her love of Muskoka together by embarking on an eight-kilometre swim around Tondern Island, home of the Beaumaris Yacht Club. She wrote to 40 local friends and family members, asking them to sponsor the journey. Her goal was $5,000. The money raised would go to the Covid-19 Emergency Fun administered by the South Muskoka Hospital Foundation.
“As summer residents,” says Caroline, “many of us have benefitted from the services of our local hospital. I wanted to find a way to help support our local healthcare providers at this difficult and unprecedented time.”
Caroline dove into her new challenge upon arrival in Muskoka in July, 2020. Having not had access to a pool since mid-March, she built her stamina gradually by swimming in Lake Muskoka for a few kilometres every day.
Finally, the swim took place on August 14, 2020. “It was a lovely morning,” she says. “I started from the bottom of Tondern Island at roughly 7:30 am and swam north, past the Beaumaris Yacht Club, then south down through Milford Bay. Other than in front the the club, the lake was calm, meaning that it was rather enjoyable! I ended up completing the swim in fewer than two hours, which I was pleased with… and rather surprised, too! My goal had been to complete it in fewer than three hours.”
Lewitt exceeded her goal by $600, raising a total of $5,600 for the fund. The foundation showed its gratitude with this article on giving back, reprinted (with edits) here with permission. “Anyone can be a hero,” say officials from the South Muskoka Hospital. Donations are accepted through the Foundation office at www.healthmuskoka.ca.
Photos and text courtesy of the South Muskoka Hospital Foundation.