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Nassau Swim Team Raises Funds for Hepatitis B Foundation at the Fifth Annual Andrew Wise SwimAthon

PRINCETON, NJ (August 20, 2008) –The Nassau Swim Team recently hosted its Fifth Annual Andrew Wise SwimAThon to raise funds for the Hepatitis B Foundation and liver cancer research. The event was held on July 22 in honor of Andrew Wise, a former team member, coach, and lifeguard who tragically died in 2002 at the age of 24 from hepatitis B and liver cancer.

The Nassau Swim Team competes locally as part of the Princeton Area Swimming and Diving Association, however one day a year they compete strictly for charity. The day in exception is the Andrew Wise SwimAThon. This year many of the Swim Team’s students were dedicated to swimming 100 plus laps that were tied to financial contributions for each lap. All of the proceeds benefited the Hepatitis B Foundation in the hopes of finding a cure. Overall, the Team has raised thousands of dollars for the research.

“This event always has the best attendance of the entire season and easily out-numbers the attendance at any swim practice. The facts and figures give a glimpse of the deep respect held for Andrew,” said Nassau Swim Team Coach and Event Coordinator, Jenna Klockenbrink. “He was a remarkable athlete and his name still remains on the Records Board for the breast stroke and medley relays. But that is not all there was to this young man; he left an indelible mark on others that no amount of water can wash away.”

The Swim Team members range from ages five to 17. Ironically, the youngest members were born the same year that Andrew passed. Beth Nagle and Guy Helman, Andrew’s peers, remember and speak highly of their former colleague and friend. Beth recalls his joyful personality and admirable athletic abilities. Guy was in awe of Andrew’s strength, as Andrew was a senior lifeguard when Guy started with the Association. During the event, Guy and Beth who are coaches of the Swim Team’s Eight and Under Class, reflected on the memory of their fallen teammate as they encouraged each young swimmer to complete lap after lap.

Andrew’s mother, Helen Wise, watched all the swim sessions and reminisced about Andrew’s grace in the water as well as the grace he displayed in dying. She was deeply moved by the celebration of her son’s life as he was remembered and honored through his sport of choice.

Andrew Lee Wise's Story
Lee, Seung-hoon was born March 4, 1978 in Seoul, Korea. Andrew, as he was named upon adoption, and his sister Jenny joined the Wise family in Princeton, N.J., in December 1985. Upon his arrival to the U.S., he was tested for hepatitis B, found to be negative for the virus, and then vaccinated. No one thought any more about hepatitis B. On September 2, 2002, Andrew awoke complaining of severe abdominal pain and he was rushed to the emergency room.  A biopsy confirmed a diagnosis of stage IV hepatocellular carcinoma [liver cancer] metastasized to the lung. The liver cancer was due to an undiagnosed chronic hepatitis B infection. An earlier diagnosis could have meant surgery or a transplant, but now chemotherapy was Andrew’s only option, and even then it only shrank the tumor in a small percentage of patients. His best chance at life was a clinical trial and a miracle. Neither was to be. Andrew Lee Wise died at home on Dec. 11, 2002. He was only 24 years old. What advice does the Wise family offer? Older adoptees and their families should be re-tested for hepatitis B. Be sure to ask for copies of the blood test results and have the doctor clearly explain whether the results are positive or negative. Vaccinate the entire family. Stay informed about the latest research on hepatitis B through the Hepatitis B Foundation. And enjoy life.

About the Hepatitis B Foundation
The Hepatitis B Foundation is the only national nonprofit organization solely dedicated to finding a cure and improving the quality of life for those affected with hepatitis B worldwide through research, education and patient advocacy. For more information, visit www.hepb.org or call (215) 489-4900.

Andrew Wise Swim-A-Thon

The Nassau Swim Team Coach and SwimAThon Event Coordinator, Jenna Klockenbrink (left), and Helen Wise (right), Andrew’s mother, posed at the July 22 Fifth Annual Andrew Wise SwimAThon. The Swim Team hosted the event to honor their former team member, coach, and lifeguard who tragically died in 2002 at the age of 24 from liver cancer. The Team has raised thousands of dollars for the Hepatitis B Foundation in hopes of finding a cure for hepatitis B and liver cancer.

Page last modified October 21, 2009

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