Al's Angels and Y partner up for swimming fundraiser
Al DiGuido, founder of Al's Angels, is lucky he doesn't have to pay someone every time he organizes a 24-hour fundraiser, because his "24 Hours of Laps" marathon in Westport from April 30 to May 1 will be the third such event since October.
"We hit on a vein here that seems to be working pretty well," said DiGuido, whose charitable organization in 2011 will provide more than 2,500 families and more than 5,000 children with holiday meals and gifts.
He began with "24 Hours of Hope" at the Edge Fitness in Norwalk, which raised more than $100,000. That event was followed by "24 Hours of Strikes" in New York City, a bowling event split into 12-hour blocks over two days.
The "24 Hours of Laps," event will take place from 10 a.m. April 30 to 10 a.m. May 1 at the Westport Weston Family Y.
Al's Angels provides holiday meals and gifts to children and families in the tri-state area suffering with life-threatening cancer and rare blood diseases.
Many seemed to like the idea of swimming at the Y pool overnight, with the midnight to 12:30 a.m. slots taken a month and a half out, DiGuido said.
Senior swimmers, members of the Y's Water Rat swim team and Water Rat alumni plan to take part in the event, which will have six swimming lanes and no age restriction, said DiGuido, the CEO of Zeta Interactive, a digital marketing services agency. Swimmers from other towns are welcome to swim in the event, he said.
Having the Y host the fundraiser helps to highlight the problem families face with rare blood diseases as the downtown hub has 4,000 members, DiGuido said.
"It raises awareness with more people," DiGuido said, adding that many families have been wiped out financially from fighting the diseases. "Every opportunity we get to expose people to the work that we do at Al's to a new community of people allows us to raise funds and do more work for these children."
Seventy-five people have signed up for "24 Hours of Laps" and DiGuido expects many more sign-ups once the Water Rat season comes to an end. Right now, he said, the swimmers are focused on competition.
24 Hours of Laps is a perfect event for avid swimmers because they "can convert their passion for a sport that they love into doing something they love for children," DiGuido said.
Participants are encouraged to raise at least $200 in pledges of $1, $2, $5, $10 or more per lap.
Swimmers will swim as many laps as they can in their half-hour block, and many are training to out-do themselves, DiGuido said.
"Our goal is to raise at least $75,000," he said.
"24 Hours of Laps" will include music and food as well as fruit and water provided by Shop Rite.
DiGuido said there is still room for 125 additional sign-ups.
There will be awards in all age categories -- most laps swam, largest sponsorship per lap, largest number of sponsor donors and largest overall fundraiser.
For information on registration or to be an event sponsor, log on to www.24hoursoflaps.com.