ATLANTA — Atlanta teens are plunging into a new goal -- fundraising for cancer research with Swim Across America.
Six local teens were chosen out of hundreds to become members of the Junior Advisory Board for the nonprofit. Only 15 were selected nationwide for the coveted position.
Newly elected members, Maggie Robinson and sisters Aleah and Prielle Zafft were three of the local teens tapped to serve the junior board. Each joined Swim Across America to honor someone in their lives who has been affected by the disease.
"It allowed me to combine my passion for swimming with my newfound passion for raising money for helping people with cancer," said Robinson.
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Swimming has been a part of 16-year-old Robinson's life for more than a decade. Robinson explains how her journey with Swim Across America began after her mother's diagnosis.
"My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer when I was in fifth grade and it was very new, very foreign, and I didn't understand what was going on. We started Swim Across America a year after that," she said.
The Zafft sisters, 15-year-old Prielle and 12-year-old Aleah are honoring local Atlanta resident Grace Bunke.
Bunke was a rising star in the Paralympic swim community and was involved in Swim Across America, but passed away in 2018 at 14 years old from osteosarcoma.
"We swim in her honor," said Prielle Zafft. "It's just given me a reason to keep going and keep pushing for money for childhood cancer research."
Aleah explained that their strokes go beyond Grace's impact and to show support of loved ones they've lost as well.
"We have a close family friend who was diagnosed with cancer and then died from it, which is really sad. So now we swim in his honor," added Aleah Zafft.
Together the girls have raised more than $25,000 and are preparing to swim in the 10th annual Atlanta open water swim event in September.