A long swim in honor of Mom
Rosemount native Eric Young will attempt to swim across Lake Belle Taine on Saturday in honor of his mother, who passed away from Parkinson's disease in September. The swim is a fundraising effort for the Parkinson's Disease Foundation. Young, 40, also hopes to raise awareness for the disease.
Young, who now lives in Atlanta, GA, has frequented Lake Belle Taine, near Nevis, since he was born. His great grandfather was the first to build a cabin on the lake, back in 1902.
"It occurred to me no one had swam from one end of Lake Belle Taine to the other," Young said. "I thought that would be a unique way to do a fundraiser in her memory, and at the same time have a special meaning for both my mom and I."
In order to prepare for the six mile swim, Young has been in training for eight months.
"Before my mom passed away, I told my mom I was going to do this for her," Young said. "Just having her kind of behind me has helped me push through all of the training I have had to do."
Young swims three days a week in a pool, and one day a week in a lake. He has also done a 2.4-mile swim once a week over the past few months. Young also participated in a 4.5-mile race in the Tennessee River in Chattanooga.
Young is not going at this fundraising swim alone. Many will join him on the lake.
"My two daughters will be there on Saturday to watch it," Young said. "Something they can tell the grandkids that they saw their old man swim across the lake."
Young's good friend Sean Bartels will swim the length of the lake right beside him. Bartels is also a Rosemount native, and graduated from Rosemount High School with Young in 1990. Young will also have many friends and neighbors following them in boats and pontoons.
"(They are) just there to support us and cheer us on," Young said.
Young said his main goal is to raise funds and awareness for Parkinson's Disease because it is relatively unknown.
"Not only is it hard for people to have the disease, but all the people that are affected, their caregivers, it affects so many people's lives," Young said. "Hopefully they will get a little bit closer to finding a cure or technologies, medicines or surgeries."
Before they swim on Saturday, Young and his loved ones will scatter his mom's ashes into Lake Belle Taine on July 4.
"My mom was always very active, and Parkinson's gradually takes away your physical capabilities, and I can still do these things for my mom and she is vicariously through me, so I am kind of doing this for her and others who may want to go for a swim on a nice day and that can't do it," Young said. "I think a lot of people take their health for granted, so this is a small way to do it for those who can't.
"It'll be a good day," Young said.
To make a donation to Young's cause, visit http://support.pdf.org/ericyoungswim.