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One Tough Swimmer and Her Inspiring Message

March 7th, 2014 by Kendra Martin

This month we at Lorimer are excited for the soon-to-arrive latest title from our RecordBooks series on Canadian sport biographies! Annaleise Carr: How I conquered Lake Ontario to help kids battling cancer tells the story of Annaleise Carr, who in 2012 at the age of fourteen became the youngest person to swim across Lake Ontario, breaking the record set more than fifty years earlier by Marilyn Bell. 

For Carr, the motivation for her epic swim came not from a desire for glory. Instead, her ultimate quest was to raise money for her new friends at Camp Trillium, a charity that provides a camping experience for kids with cancer. What kept her going through the cold water, the exhaustion, and the terrifying night swim was the thought of those kids and their families that she was helping. As she tells her co-author, the well-known children's book author Deborah Ellis, she first came up with the idea when visiting Camp Trillium, a camp for children with cancer.

excerpt from the book:

"Our lake is called Rainbow Lake," the camp director said. "It's a private lake, just for us. One of the challenges we try to do with each camp session is to get kids to swim across the lake."

I looked out across Rainbow Lake. It was not a big lake, by any means, but to a little kid who isn't used to swimming, it must seem enormous.

Again the camp director read my mind.

"They go out in a group," she said. "All swimmers--adults, kids, strong swimmers, new swimmers--have to wear life jackets. There are boats that go with them, in case they need to get out of the water and take a rest. You can imagine how powerful they feel when they make it across the lake."

"It's a metaphor," I said, remembering my seventh-grade English classes. "The battle with the lake is like their battle with cancer." 

Annaleise will be doing some book signings and appearances around Toronto over the next couple of months. We'll be sure to keep you posted on when and where!

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