On Thursday, November 14, the Bates College swimming and diving team joined 137 teams and an estimated 5,700 student-athletes around the country and participated in the 14th Annual Ted Mullin "Leave it in the Pool" Hour of Power Relay for Sarcoma Research.
The Hour of Power event honors those who are fighting or have passed due to cancer, including former Carleton swimmer Edward H. "Ted" Mullin, who passed away from synovial sarcoma, a rare soft-tissue cancer, in September 2006. Ted's sister and brother both swam in the NESCAC and for the past 13 years, Ted has been honored both by Bates and the NESCAC. Participating swim teams engage in continuous relays of any stroke for a full hour of all-out swimming. Dryland teams engage in their particular sport non-stop for a full hour.
If you had passed by Tarbell Pool on that Thursday afternoon, you would have heard music blasting and teams cheering, but what was going on in the pool was far more meaningful than swimmers clocking fast times.
"This event has become part of our core identity," said Head Coach Peter Casares. "It started my first year at Bates and has grown to something so much bigger than us and the NESCAC. We realize yearly how lucky we are to be together battling tough moments... that we chose. We swim for those who don't have, or didn't get that choice. We are honored and proud to leave it in the pool, for Ted and so many others."
In the event's first 13 years, participating teams have raised over $850,000 for the Ted Mullin Fund to support research at the University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children's Hospital into the causes and treatment of sarcoma and other rare pediatric cancers. From all sources, the Ted Mullin Fund has now raised nearly $1.4 million.
Bates first-year Elizabeth Freiburger, of Winnetka, Ill., has grown up participating in the fundraiser throughout her swim career. This year marked her sixth year taking part in the Hour of Power.
"I loved keeping the tradition of the Hour of Power here at Bates, because I believe that swimmers have the ability to change a lot more than their times," said Freiburger. "We are a really giving group, and the Ted Mullin research fund demonstrates this with the majority of the million dollars raised since 2006 being done through this unique fundraiser. The University of Chicago is in my hometown, which makes me so proud. It is an amazing hospital, and all of their cancer research is cutting edge. Just knowing Bates swimming and diving feels strongly about giving back reminds me why I chose this culture over other teams."
The funds raised by this event have been used for a variety of projects that evaluate the genetic basis of sarcomas, the identification of novel markers of disease diagnosis or progression, and the development of new small molecule and cell therapies for resistant disease. Each summer, the University also hosts Ted Mullin Fund scholars, offering four Hour of Power collegiate participants an opportunity to advance their interest in science and cancer biology by spending 10 weeks in a laboratory under the mentorship of a pediatric cancer researcher within the Section of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at the University of Chicago Medicine.
"I can't tell you how impactful it is to see the team embrace the Hour of Power and Ted Mullin's legacy," shared Bates swimming alum Matt Lipoff '12. "I grew up with the Mullins at New Trier Swim Club in Illinois, and though Ted was a few years older than me, his battle with cancer was one that affected the entire swimming community.
"After he passed, the Hour of Power was created as a tribute to Ted's indomitable will, his never-ending fight and the power of a community rallying together. It's been over a decade now since Ted passed away, and the Hour of Power has spread from Ted's home pools at New Trier and Carleton College, to nearly every corner of the country."