Jumping into the water in Niagara at 6:15 p.m. local time Saturday, she began her 27-hour voyage, touching the wall tonight at Marilyn Bell Park just before 9 p.m. Sunday. The trip was made all the more difficult when fierce winds and the resulting cold, rough surf began battering Annaleise during the overnight hours. Although forecasters had predicted easy night breezes from the south, Annaleise was blown off course by "a 10-to-15 knot wind out of the west," her father, Jeff Carr, said
. Carr told QMI Agency he was sure she would make it.
"Then five-foot waves were battering her," he said. "In the morning, she was in pretty rough shape ... but she perked up".
As morning dawned and the sun began shining, the winds calmed and the water warmed. Dr. Mark Ghesquiere, a Simcoe physician who accompanied her with other volunteers, said
one of the biggest breaks came from Mother Nature, "who gave us a warm lake.” "Just to see her with the sunrise as a backdrop was exciting."
Although understandably exhausted after the more than 51-kilometer ordeal, Annaleise managed a broad smile as she exited the water, hearing loud and excited cheers from the gathered crowd. She was not only proud to have accomplished such an amazing athletic feat, she was thrilled that she had exceeded her goal of raising $30,000 for Camp Trillium, a summer camp for children with cancer.
After visiting Camp Trillium nearly a year ago, she asked if she could volunteer at the camp. However, at age 13, she was told she was too young. Refusing to give up on her desire to help the camp and the children, she set out to raise money for the camp. After exceeding her initial fundraising goal last week, she set a new goal of $50,000. By the time she finished swimming, she had raised more then $90,000.
Annaleise is indeed a remarkable and determined young lady. Her swimming accomplishment, along with her ability to exceed her fundraising goal more then threefold, has not only made her the new idol of many her own age, but an inspiration to us all.