Lake Erie Swim

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It sounded crazy to me at first. I mean, swim across Lake Erie? But then I thought about it more. Besides being an expert pooper, I am a pretty good swimmer. Of course, I never won any Olympic medals doing it. But that is neither here nor there. The task at hand is can I swim some 24 miles across Lake Erie? Now, just a short while ago the task at hand was can I get up off my couch? And for about a year the answer was a resounding NO. I was chained to that thing like Princess Leia was chained to Jabba the Hut’s extremely large, sliding platform/lounge-chair thingy. Well wait, no. I am not saying I was Princess Leia. I guess I was more like Jabba if anyone (or thing). (And just a quick aside to my fellow IBDers, could you imagine if Jabba the Hut had Crohn’s or UC? Okay, sorry about that. No but really, what kind of toilet would he need?).


So, I was like Jabba, only an alternate-universe, extremely thin, malnourished Jabba, sitting on my couch watching my entertainment (which was just lots and lots of television). And I hated it. I went from being pretty active, doing triathlons, to being a slave to my toilet and couch. Not to mention my moonlighting position working as a “Prednisone Zombie”. The job sucked by the way. Just a whole bunch more of watching television. SO…. all of that is pretty much behind me. But for a lot of my fellow IBDers sadly it is not. I want to do something for them, in their names. I want to raise money for them, and help bring a greater awareness to IBD. So, I am going to swim across Lake Erie. Check-out the additional information below. PLEASE CONSIDER DONATING! The donation link is here at the bottom of this page. Please drop me a line of encouragement.


“There is nothing impossible to him who will try.”

Alexander the Great

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Every dollar that goes to research is one step closer to finding a cure.There are TWO ways to donate to this cause:

  • 1 = A Gift donation that will not be considered a tax write-off. Part of this money will go to pay for things like the boat rental / gasoline. To donate in this manner please click on the PayPal button below.
  • 2 = You can donate directly to the Cleveland Clinic at the web address that follows. The Cleveland Clinic will provide you with the appropriate forms so that you can claim the donation as a deduction on your taxes.




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In order to make this a successful swim there are several things my team and I will need. The procession will go something like this: Up in front leading the whole thing is a kayaker who has a handheld GPS unit. This will either be one of my brothers, Jason or Craig. Or my good friend, Chris. Then, to my side (most likely my right side since I predominately breathe in that direction) is a second kayaker who also has a handheld GPS unit. That kayaker, who I can see quite easily when I breathe, naturally follows the first kayaker. Any course corrections that they make I mimic by always keeping the second kayaker several yards to my right.


Somewhere in the distance is our main support boat. Obviously this is a larger cabin cruiser capable of easily crisscrossing a lake the size of Lake Erie. The boat should remain at a distance due to the exhaust which I will not want to swim near. So, we are looking for some Sponsors and hopefully some donated items like the GPS units and the Kayaks which we will return after the swim. Please contact me if this is something you are willing to help out with. A partial list follows. No doubt this list will change as the plans come closer to fruition.

  • State-of-the-art handheld GPS unit x 2

  • Kayak (preferably an ocean-going model) x 2

  • T-Shirts. Your company logo would look great on our t-shirts.

  • Nutritional Aids for both myself and the Kayakers (Scratch Labs drink mix would be nice).

  • Fee to cover Support boat (reimbursement of fuel).

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The plan is to swim from Long Port Ontario, Canada to Free Port Beach in North East Pennsylvania. That is a route several other swimmers have gone in recent years. It is right around 24 miles total. My goal would be to complete the swim in 12 hours or less. Of course, if I finish it and it takes me 20 hours I won’t be upset.


  • Kimberly

    Jun 29, 2013

    Just read your story on good morning America. I am rooting for your swim! I am very inspired. I was diagnosed with UC in 2010, so I understand what you have been through. Good Luck!

    • Ryan

      Jun 30, 2013

      Thank you! I’m getting excited to raise awareness for IBD and bring some much needed attention/understanding to our diseases.

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