The Oxford High School swim and dive teams, Oxford’s Aqua Swim Club and the Liquid Lightning swim team came together last weekend to help raise money for Claire Alexander, an OHS senior and varsity swimmer who was recently diagnosed with cancer.
About 200 swimmers raised approximately $2,500 to benefit the Alexander family.
The event was initially suggested by OHS varsity team and Aqua Swim Club swimmers Zach Beatty and Peyton Bailey and the fundraising efforts were then organized by the Aqua Swim Club.
Fund-raising efforts which included a 50/50 raffle and bake sale were held during the AQUA Summer Sprint Challenge last Saturday, presented by the Aqua Swim Club and the Liquid Lightning swim team.
Claire was recently diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma, a cancer which starts in the white blood cells called lymphocytes.
According to the American Cancer Society, both children and adults can develop Hodgkin lymphoma, but it is most common in early adulthood, especially in a person’s 20s. The risk for Hodgkin lymphoma rises again in late adulthood after age 55.
Since learning about her diagnosis, Claire said she can’t believe the overwhelming level of support she has received from the swim team and from the community.
“I feel very grateful that they’re organizing things like this for me. This is all still new to me… I didn’t know there would be so many people that wanted to help. All the help is really uplifting,” Claire said.
Claire’s mother, Andrea Alexander agreed with this sentiment.
“I’m overwhelmed that the community has pulled together like this for Claire. It really does help lift her spirits knowing that so many people support her… In my head, I’m envisioning she’s swimming a really long way and she’s got all these people cheering for her to help her through it,” Andrea said.
Last December, Claire said her life took an unimaginable turn when she noticed an unusual bump on the back of her neck.
Her mom took her to a medical clinic, where Claire received several tests and x-rays which showed some swelling.
Despite this swelling, Claire was released since she had no other symptoms.
A few months later, the bump had gotten larger and Claire returned to the clinic where she received numerous more tests.
In March, Claire was diagnosed with stage IIA Hodgkin lymphoma, which is considered an earlier stage of the condition.
Claire has since undergone several treatments of chemotherapy. Fortunately, Andrea said Claire has been responding well so far.
“Hodgkins Lymphoma, fortunately, has a really high cure rate, so we’re really confident that things are going to head in the right direction for her,” said Andrea.
While Andrea said their family has been “extremely grateful” for the support they’ve received from the community so far, she asked that local families also consider honoring Claire by donating to nonprofit organizations which benefit childhood cancer and illnesses like the Make-A-Wish Foundation, The Rainbow Connection, St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society or the American Cancer Society.
“Claire has a road ahead of her to get through still. We can manage it. But I feel for kids who aren’t as treatable… We don’t want people to forget about others and be thankful for the healthy kids in their lives. I’m really appreciative and thankful that the community is pulling for Claire in this way,” Andrea said.
The Alexander family has invited the community to follow Claire’s journey on the Facebook page, “Claire’s Whatever it Takes Page,” where Claire has been posting updates as she undergoes treatment.