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Go Swimming for a Good Cause in Westport

Calling all swimmers: Help kids fighting cancer and other life-threatening illnesses by signing up to swim at the Westport Weston Family Y during the "24 Hours of Laps" event April 30 and May 1.

The event is organized by the Westport nonprofit Al's Angels, which provides holiday meals, gifts and a sense of hope to children, and their families, suffering with cancer, rare blood diseases and financial hardship.

"People register [to swim during the event] online and are assigned a 30-minute time slot. The idea is to swim as many laps as you can during that time and get people to sponsor each lap," said Westporter Al DiGuido, founder of Al's Angels. "There are some folks who sponsored swimmers at $10 a lap." Every dollar raised is donated to Al's Angels. DiGuido said the group is hoping to raise at least $75,000 but will be "excited about whatever we raise."

Swimmers of all ages are encouraged to participate in this event, the third 24-hour fundraiser the group has organized since October. However, it's the first event to go overnight, DiGuido said. "It's going to be pretty cool," he said. "We'll have music, food and water throughout the entire event. And everyone who participates will get a swim cap." There will also be awards in each age category.

Jacquie Tumminia, senior director of aquatics and competitive swimming at the Family Y, said the Y is proud to be hosting this event because it hits home for members of the Y's Water Rat Swim Team.

"Last summer, a brother of some of our swimmers passed away from cancer," Tumminia said. "We're hoping this event is successful. It's for a really great cause."

Similar to the "24 Hours of Hope" fitness fundraiser held in October and the "24 Hours of Strikes" bowling event held at the beginning of April, the goal isn't just to raise money but also awareness, DiGuido said.

"We're trying to expose different communities of people to our mission," he said. "The more we expand our base, the more support we can provide for these children and their families."

"24 Hours of Laps" will run from 10 a.m. April 30 to 10 a.m. May 1. To sign up or for more information, visit the event website .

Do you know or are sponsoring someone signed up to swim during "24 Hours of Laps"?

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