A mother swims across America in honor of her 14-year-old daughter who has died of cancer.
Vicki Bunke is participating in 14 open water charity swims for Swim Across America this summer to raise money for childhood cancer research.
Vicki lost her daughter Grace in 2018 to osteosarcoma, an aggressive form of bone cancer.
Grace was diagnosed at age 11 and battled the cancer for nearly four years. During that time, the teen underwent three lung surgeries and a partial leg amputation, which involved pinning the lower half of her leg backwards.
While recovering, Grace began swimming and earned a national cap for the US Paralympic team in 2017.
That same year, she went swimming in open water and participated in the Swim Across America – Atlanta charity swim near her home.
After Grace passed away, Vicki decided to continue what her daughter had started, and she founded Team Amazing Grace to raise money for cancer research through swimming.
“It’s usually parents who leave legacies for our children,” Vicki said. “Grace has left us a legacy. She was the No. 1 pediatric research fundraiser with Swim Across America before she died, and if she were here today, she would be swimming to fight this terrible disease for others. It is the spirit of Grace that brings us all together for this cause.”
Swimming alongside Vicki is Grace’s oncologist, Dr. Karen Wasilewski-Masker, as well as other friends and relatives.
Last Sunday, Vicki and Team Amazing Grace raised more than $4,000 at the Charleston-Kiawah open water swim event in South Carolina.
As of Monday, the team has raised nearly $88,000, roughly 76% of their $115,000 goal.
Next, Vicki and the team will swim in Chicago, St. Louis, Denver, Seattle, Baltimore, Dallas and finish in Atlanta on October 2.