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Swim for good cause: Swim Teal Lake for Diabetes set for Negaunee, Ishpeming

Erin VanderSchaaf of Marquette runs up onshore to the finish line of the Swim Teal Lake for Diabetes at Al Quaal Recreation Area in Ishpeming in July 2016. (Journal file photo)

The event:

• What: Swim Teal Lake for Diabetes

• When: Saturday, July 27

• Where: All start lines on Negaunee shore of Teal Lake

• Events: 

Teal Lake Swim for Diabetes winner Sam Williams, left, of Marquette, and runner-up Curran Moffitt of Rochester Hills decompress after the 2.25-mile swim from Teal Lake Beach in Negaunee to Al Quaal Recreation Area in Ishpeming in July 2017. (Journal file photo)

Short-n-Sweet, 8:30 a.m., quarter-mile out & back

Recreational swim, 9 a.m., 2 1/4 miles across lake to Al Quaal Recreation Area in Ishpeming

Competitive swim, 9:30 a.m., 2 1/4 miles across lake to Al Quaal Recreation Area in Ishpeming

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NEGAUNEE — It’s definitely not too early to start thinking about taking a dip in Teal Lake to help a charitable cause on Saturday, July 27.

Sam Williams of Marquette finishes the competitive portion aas the winner of the Teal Lake Swim for Diabetes in July 2017. The 2.25-mile swim began at Teal Lake Beach in Negaunee and finished at Al Quaal Recreation Area in Ishpeming. (Journal file photo)

That’s when the 16th annual Swim Teal Lake for Diabetes event takes place on the popular body of water near U.S. 41 between Negaunee and Ishpeming.

Registration fees of $20 for the short swim and $75 for the longer across-the-lake trek can be offset by swimmers if they obtain donations and/or pledges.

That’s the hope of Upper Peninsula Diabetes Outreach Network office manager Kristen Cambensy, who also serves as race director for Swim Teal Lake.

“The West End Health Foundation has doubled its matching grant to us from $10,000 to $20,000,” she said. “So we’re really hoping we can hit the $20,000 in donations.

“It would really help us with our programs.”

Their programs are U.P.-wide, including hosting specialty clinics that bring doctors from downstate who specialize in diabetes to work one-on-one with patients.

Those who don’t want to take on swimming in the lake can still help by sponsoring a swimmer; buying, selling or donating to raffles held in conjunction with the event; or becoming a volunteer, whether it is in a kayak along the swim route or on land to help with areas such as registration and organization.

All three events at Swim Teal Lake begin in the morning on the Negaunee city shore at the eastern end of the lake.

The Short-n-Sweet starts at 8:30 a.m. and is open to all ages. It’s a quarter-mile in length as it goes out to a buoy in the lake before swimmers return to where they started.

The longer swims are about 2 1/4 miles long across the lake to the Al Quaal Recreation Area beach in Ishpeming.

The recreational, noncompetitive version kicks off at 9 a.m. in Negaunee, while advanced competitive swimmers, who take the same route, begin their swim at 9:30 a.m.

A relatively new emphasis for UPDON in the past few years is an attempt to start an “insulin initiative” as the cost of the life-saving and -preserving hormone for Type 1 diabetics has skyrocketed.

People can be between insurance coverages, not have adequate coverage or just not have coverage at all and be socked with bills reaching hundreds of dollars a month, Cambensy said.

“We’d like to start a program to help people, because for Type 1 diabetics, insulin is necessary to live,” she said.

The swim is also about raising awareness of the disease as much as it is to raise funds, she said.

UPDON will host a Type 1 Diabetes Forum in November with speakers to include Olympic swimmer Gary Hall Jr., who attended a Teal Lake Swim for Diabetes several years ago, and Dr. Michael Wood, a pediatric endocrinologist who has helped conduct the specialty clinics in the U.P.

Education is also important for those with Type 2 diabetes, the usually adult-onset version of the malady.

For more information about entering the event or helping as a volunteer or donator, visit the website www.teallakeswim.com, call UPDON at 273-1120 or email cambensyk@upcap.org.

Steve Brownlee can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 252. His email address is sbrownlee@miningjournal.net.