She did it!
On Sunday, July 3, “Swimming Grandma” jumped off the pontoon on Cedar Lake’s south side for the eighth time and swam the near half-mile to Camp Lebanon’s shores. Joining her were family, grand and greatgrandchildren, sponsored family campers, and hundreds of friends on Facebook Live.
The flotilla, complete with three pontoons, two kayaks, four paddleboards, and a couple of speed boats, reached the swimming beach twenty-eight minutes later. Scores of family campers and guests made up the large, vocal welcoming committee.
Coming out of retirement for the second time, the 95-year-young Sandy Abeler donned her white swim cap and faced down the bumpy waters coming from a steady crosswind. The sky was cloudy and air a bit cool, but there was no stopping her. Sandy started strong, got a bit of help from an occasional push and pull, and then led the pack into the Camp’s swimming beach in triumph. She did it!
“It’s not about me,” Sandy preached in her pre-swim speech on the Chalet steps. “It’s all about helping kids get to Camp so that they can hear about our sweet Jesus!” With the help of nearly 200 sponsors, over $30,250 was raised for scholarships, the biggest offering of her eight swims.
With sold out camps and numerous financial stresses, the need for assistance is greater than ever. At $100 per grantee on average, Sandy and friends will bless over 300 kids and families with scholarship awards. What’s more, this summer’s response pushed Swimming Grandma’s career Scholarship Blessing over $100,000. Woo Hoo!
Sandy’s secret? “I can do all things through Christ who gives me the strength to do it,” she declares, using her own version of Philippians 4:13.
Sandy’s life verse from Mark 14:8 explains the undying passion to serve her Lord. The text simply reads, “She did what she could.” With that as a late-in-life slogan, she completed her first swim back in 2012 at age 85 and ten years later she’s still at it! This may be her final swim, but expect Swimming Grandma to find other ways to help kids get to Camp. “As long as God gives me breath!”
A big “Thank You!” to all who jumped in to “swim” with Grandma Sandy. Thanks to your help, she did it! The impact of this “Big Splash!” for God’s Kingdom and Camp’s ministries will ripple all the way into eternity.