Mary Letson, Founder & Chair of SwimBowen
When Mary isn’t running her Bowen Island fitness studio Positively Fit, she’s passionate about launching athletic events for her community. For past 20 + years, she has organized events that at once encourage people to nail their goals, have fun all while contributing to a worthwhile fundraising effort. Mary coordinated Bowen Island’s Run for the Ferry 1999 – 2001, created and led Bowen Island’s Triathlon for Community House Arts Centre 2007 – 2009, the Reindeer Run 2007 – 2011 for the Island Christmas Hamper Fund, and Aaron’s Run 2010 – 2013 to honour a 19 year old boy’s life tragically lost and to support The Aaron Sluggett Memorial Scholarship. A breast cancer diagnosis in 2012 forced a new kind marathon upon her and from this experience comes SwimBowen, a way give back to Bowen Islanders enduring cancer treatment.
Cathryn Robertson, SwimBowen Director
A year of chemotherapy and radiation for breast cancer left me so depleted simply going for a walk was exhausting. Determined to find my strength again post treatment, I sought support through the Bowen Island Wellness Centre massage, yoga at The Yoga Loft and SeaHiker. I can now swim long distances in the ocean, have met fellow swimmers who love to grab a wet suit on a sunny or rainy afternoon and go for a swim, have regained strength with classes at the Bowen’s Yoga Loft and was assisted through the trauma of treatments with Bowen Island Wellness massage. Despite the difficulty of the treatment, I was fortunate to have the means to pay for all these services. We don’t often speak of the financial burden that is part of Cancer treatment. SwimBowen opens up this conversation, extends a hand and creates a path to help you recover your health after treatment. It is an honour to work with Mary and Wendy and to be a part of helping others during and after treatment.
Wendy Alexander, SwimBowen Director
An architect by trade, Wendy moved to Bowen Island in 2012 and balances designing houses and renovations with any and all opportunities to get out onto or into our Salish Sea. Her personal experience with several losses in her family to Cancer makes her sensitive to the needs of those living with the disease. SwimBowen is a way to combine her love of the sea with her compassion for those undergoing cancer treatments.
Katherine Gish, SwimBowen Director at Large
A Bowen Island, Tunstall Bay resident since 1995 I am passionate about this Island we all call home. My favourite motto is Spirit of Community and I am super excited and thrilled to be a part of SwimBowen. Mary and I have worked on events together since 1997 and it’s always super fun and inspiring! See you at the beach…I will be there cheering you on!
Elliot has been swimming his whole life and found success in his college years competing in swims ranging from 400m to 10km. He is a multi-time NCAA champion and represented Canada in the FINA opean water world championship in 2005. Since then, he has picked up train running, triathlon and SwimRun. Elliot helped design this year’s race course and will be leading race day timing.
As a new resident to Bowen Island, Jill has been keen to get involved with causes near and dear to her heart. She loves supporting people having a positive impact in their community and feels grateful to have met Mary & the SwimBowen team. Jill will be leading swimmer registration on race day and supporting communications leading up to and after the race.