For most 14-year-olds entering their sophomore year in high school, August days are meant for ice cream filled and hanging out with friends. For Charley Lei, an honor student at Andover High School, August is also a chance to fuse fun and volunteer work as he gears up to participate as a swimmer and kayaker in the Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition’s annual Against the Tide swim, walk, run, kayak fundraising event.
A competitive swimmer for several years, Charley placed fifth place in the New England 14 & U Championships 200 freestyle relay at Harvard in 2012 and second place in the New England 12 & U Championships at Harvard in 2010, according to a release from the Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition.
The organization said in a release that Charley has helped save both his mother and a friend from drowning.
“But his dedication to prevention doesn’t end there,” according to the group. “Charley is going above and beyond his participation as a swimmer, kayaker, and fundraiser for breast cancer prevention. He is now the Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition’s youngest (and some would say busiest) intern.” Among his other activities like school, chess, music lessons, and, of course, swimming, Charley has been volunteering four hours each week with the Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition.
His involvement with MBCC was initially sparked by a friend who asked him to help fundraise for the cause, but it endured because of Charley’s personal connection to the disease. His swim will be in honor of Grace Feller, a close family friend. Diagnosed with breast cancer, she endured the disease and its difficulties for many years.
“Each time I open my family album and flip to the pictures that show me just a day after being born, I can’t help but thank Mrs. Feller and all those who came to visit and give me great blessings. To pass those blessings on, to keep on blessing people and to wish her all the best, I will swim and kayak for this event,” he said in the release.
The Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition is thrilled to have Charley as both an Against the Tide participant and as a young volunteer/intern.
“We are proud and inspired by Charley’s many talents and appreciate that he will be supporting MBCC in our goal towards changing the legacy of breast cancer for future generations. I believe that his determination, dedication and commitment will help MBCC to reach out to other young people throughout Massachusetts and New England to support our goal towards breast cancer prevention,” said Cheryl Osimo, MBCC director of events and outreach.
To support Charley’s fundraising efforts, visit firstgiving.com/fundraiser/charley.
The Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition’s (MBCC) annual Against the Tide morning event consists of competitive and recreational swim, kayak, walk, and run components. New in 2012 is an Aquathlon consisting of a competitive 1-mile swim and your choice of a competitive 5K or 10K run. The Cape Cod Against the Tide event will be held at DCR’s Nickerson State Park this Saturday, Aug. 18. The event starts at 7 a.m. and ends at noon. Please visit mbcc.org/swim or call 800-649-MBCC for more information and to register.