Weston sixth-grader David Gelfand was more than pleased with the turnout for his benefit Swim-A-Thon Saturday.
"We were expecting 40 or 50, and I think it will end up being around 60 or 70,'' the 11-year-old said. "It was a lot of preparation. I'm really happy with how many people came out."
The event at Weston High School raised money for the Challenged Athletes Foundation and Weston Swimming . Swimmers registered to swim 15 minutes. They paid to swim, and also got sponsors to support them. They came from Connecticut, New York and New Jersey.
"We spaced everybody out so we didn't have everyone come here at once,'' David said. "We even added a few more time slots."
This was the first year of the Swim-A-Thon, which David organized with the support of his parents, Jonathan and Linda. But David did nearly all of the work. The event featured food and raffle prizes. "It took a lot of organization,'' David said. "We tried to get it ready for December, but we needed more time. It worked out great."
David said that in past years he would try to solicit donations. "We wanted to do something different this year,'' he said. "We sent the information to everybody we knew. We sent them multiple emails. We got some people through the school and a lot of them are friends."
One of David's friends from summer camp, Ben Kadmon, traveled from Rye Brook, N.Y., to assist David's cause. "It wasn't that hard,'' Ben said. "I had been training for it, so it felt pretty easy."
The event raised money for two groups close to Gelfand. He has been a member of Weston Swimming since the second grade and participates in Challenged Athletes events. David was born with only a partial thighbone and has worn a prosthetic limb since he was old enough to pull himself up.
He has competed in many events for challenged athletes, including the National Junior Disability Championships, where he won several gold medals in the backstroke. He also swam on a relay in the San Diego Triathlon for Challenged Athletes. The Challenged Athletes Foundation also featured David on a video .
"I'm surprised how many people came here today and supported this,'' David said. "I'm glad we did it."
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