Families ready to ‘kick their feet’ during charity meet

Swimmers asked to help raise money for local family, ALS South Jersey chapter

By KRYSTAL NURSE

Whether one is able to swim 1,000 meters, 50 meters or can doggy paddle five feet, swimmers of all skill levels are encouraged to have fun and help raise money for Kevin Lynch, who was diagnosed with ALS 20 months ago and is described as an enthusiastic swim parent.

Friends and family from the Brookside Swim Club, where Lynch’s children Emily and Ryan swim, organized the event “Kick Your Feet Against ALS” to help offset medical and future educational costs for the family and for the ALS South Jersey chapter.

The event is on Jan. 20, starting at 2 p.m. inside of the YMCA of Gloucester County (235 E. Red Bank Ave, Woodbury).

“It’s basically a fun swim meet,” said Jamie Roes, a friend of Lynch whose daughter swims with his children. “It’s geared to every person who isn’t terrified of water. You just get together to make memories together and fill Kevin with memories of everyone rallying together for him.”

Several swim events are scheduled throughout the meet encouraging attendees to have light-hearted fun while swimming along with the traditional butterfly and backstroke relays, among others.

ALS is a “progressive neurodegenerative disease” affecting nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, eventually throughout the body, according to the ALS Association. The disease causes one to lose control of their muscle movement once motor neurons die off. Patients in the later stages of the disease become paralyzed.

A small charity event occurred the first year of Lynch’s diagnosis at the Brookside Swim Club in Pitman to raise funds for Lynch and his family. Mary Katherine Weatherby, friend of Lynch, is expecting more than 100 participants in the swim meet.

Roes said the name of the event is the phrase Lynch is heard cheering out to swimmers at meets and has become an endearing chant parents have used.

She went on to add that while she doesn’t believe Lynch swam competitively, people wouldn’t have guessed it with how he’s able to recall the swimmers’ times and speak on how they’ve improved.

“When he’s on the pool deck, every child is his child. Whether they’re 6 or 20, they’re his children,” said Weatherby.

The two women said the event will provide Lynch with good memories and stories to look back on and is a way for them to help him as he’s been known to always give people advice and assistance without hesitation.

“If you’d ask him advice on something, he’d just show up and do it for you,” said Weatherby. “He would just help everyone if they ask and would give advice and help whenever needed.”

Prospective volunteers are welcome to contact Weatherby by emailing KickYourFeetAgainstALS@Gmail.com. T-shirts and other event information can be found by visiting www.Active.com and searching “Kick Your Feet Against ALS Swim Meet” and selecting Woodbury as the location.