Teen takes an unusual swim in Lake Michigan

Everything’s better with bacon. At least Lake Michigan will be this year when Maine South High School freshman, Jillian Bacon, and her uncle, Dr. Peter Gerngross, swim across it to raise money to prevent and find a cure for cancer.


This year’s event, a branch of Swim Across America, kicks off on Friday, July 31, and will end just south of New Buffalo, Mich., the next day. The 25 participants will swim the 43 miles in relay style. The event will benefit Rush University Cancer Center.

To prepare for the swim, Bacon works out twice a day. In the morning she works on cardio exercises and swimming. At night, she focuses solely on swimming. Bacon says when her uncle first asked her if she wanted to participate back in April, she thought he was joking.

“It kind of warmed up to me that this could be kind of cool,” Bacon says. “It brings a lot of honor to my family.”

Bacon says several members of her family have suffered from cancer, including her grandmother who died from pancreatic cancer eight years ago. This swim is one way she says she can deal with the big impact cancer has had on her family.

Bacon says she’s not nervous for the swim.

“It’s not competitive,” she says. “It’s more of like we’re here for a good cause and you have to challenge yourself.”

Bacon has been a swimmer for nine years and she loves the challenges of reaching new goals.

“If you want to reach a certain goal you work for that every day for two hours and you’re so determined to get there and when you reach that goal or better, it’s fantastic,” she says.

While each swimmer must raise at least $2,500, Bacon and her uncle have recently reached more than $10,000. They hope to raise even more. Click here to help.

Bacon’s mother, Monica, says she is incredibly proud of her daughter.

“She’s quite a young lady who has her goals set and getting a little more confident every day,” she says.

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