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3rd Annual Alcatraz Swim for Sight

Lorie & Ron Hirson with: Laura Bruursema, Marc Grossman, and Mathew Stromberg

Sunday, September 28, 2014 from 7:00 AM to 10:30 AM (PDT)

3rd Annual Alcatraz Swim for Sight

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On September 28, 2014, Ron and Lorie Hirson will be hosting the 3rd annual “Alcatraz Swim for Sight.”  Our goal is to recruit 100 courageous swimmers who will join us in our fight to eliminate eye diseases and blindness worldwide.


All funds raised will go to That Man May See, which is the fundraising arm of University of California, San Francisco Ophthalmology Department.  

That Man May See helps accelerate scientific discoveries to eliminate eye diseases and blindness; attract and retain world-class clinicians and researchers; ensure the finest education for future ophthalmologists at the University of California, San Francisco; and increase public understanding of eye health. 

That Man May See focuses its fundraising efforts on patient care, research, education and community service. 

Marc Finishes Alcatraz Swim

SWIM COURSE: Alcatraz to Aquatic Park.

The concrete steps at Aquatic Park. (Google map of Aquatic Park: http://tinyurl.com/8dkahxy) 

The best option for parking is at the end of Van Ness Avenue, where there are many free 4-hour spaces (google map: http://goo.gl/3lxhts

If that area is full, try Fort Mason and then walk over the hill to Aquatic Park. Or there are many metered spots on the local streets surrounding Aquatic Park. 

7:30 am sharp, dressed out and ready to swim. Arrive earlier as necessary to change into your wetsuit, etc.   

The nearest bathroom is a 5-minute walk away in Starbucks at Beach and Hyde. There is also a bathroom in the Argonaut hotel, which is on our walk to the boat. There is a bathroom on board the boat we will ride out to The Rock on, but keep in mind that there will be many other swimmers wanting to use it as well. 

Please minimize what you bring aboard the boat with you – limit it to shoes, jacket, and a hat at most. Leslie will have to carry back everything that is left on board the boat. You should stage a second set of warm clothes at the finish - on the concrete steps, not in your car.  We can hold your car keys for you but remember you'll get back to your cars anywhere from 20 to 40 minutes before our boat does (the boat will have all of your belongings on it).  

Wear a warm hat (if you're in a wetsuit).  Wear lots of warm clothes if you're swimming without a wetsuit.  Try to stay out of the wind (stay at the back of the boat instead of the bow). Wear gloves. Wear socks and shoes. 

Alcatraz is challenging because the swim crosses the strong currents in San Francisco Bay. To prepare, familiarize yourself with the landmarks in these photos: 




There is also a great video here: http://youtu.be/5w--aDI2lik

PREPARATION AND RECOVERY: Please remember to eat a good (preferably warm) breakfast the morning of the swim. Get a good night's sleep on Friday, and expect to be tired on Sunday afternoon.

When & Where

Aquatic Park
499 Jefferson St
San Francisco, CA 94109

Sunday, September 28, 2014 from 7:00 AM to 10:30 AM (PDT)

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Lorie & Ron Hirson with: Laura Bruursema, Marc Grossman, and Mathew Stromberg

Why Support the Cure for Blindness?

We all have a story and a cause we hold near and dear to our hearts for one reason or another. My (Lorie’s) cause chose me the summer of 1989 when I was diagnosed with an incurable, rare, degenerative eye disease called retinitis pigmentosa (RP).

Basically, my retinas are dying. It is a slow progressive disease and each year my sight becomes a little more constricted. In my case, the disease started with night blindness, but now also impacts my day vision. I have little to no peripheral vision, which means I view this world of ours through a tunnel (hence the term tunnel vision).

I am just one of more than 10 million Americans who suffer vision loss from Retinitis Pigmentosa, Usher Syndrome or Macular Degeneration, which are all incurable at this time.

Swimming from Alcatraz was on my bucket list and my husband and I decided to use this as an opportunity and platform to start our annual "Alcatraz Swim for Sight," which raises money to help eliminate eye disease and blindness worldwide.  This will be our 3rd annual swim and we have doubled the number of swimmers year to year, as well as our fundraising efforts. Our goal this year is to raise $100,000 with 100 swimmers.

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