2014 SEALs for Sunshine
The Inaugural 13-Mile Swim Across Sebago Lake
In the spring of 2014, local Navy SEAL, CDR Mike W., envisioned a first-of-its-kind fundraising initiative for Camp Sunshine that would incorporate personal commitment, physical ability and mental endurance. In August of 2014, SEALs for Sunshine was born when Mike and three other active-duty Navy SEALs jumped into Sebago Lake and proceeded to swim the length of the lake in its entirety. By completing the 13 miles, the Team was able to raise enough money to sponsor and provide transportation costs for 40 military and special operations families who have a child battling a life-threatening illness.
With all the challenges military families face already, it is hard to imagine finding out your child has been diagnosed with leukemia, a brain tumor, retinoblastoma, renal disease, lupus, or any of the other diseases that Camp Sunshine faithfully serves. As a result of the SEALs for Sunshine event, the most vulnerable military and special operations families were given the opportunity to regroup, reenergize and restore hope for the future by participating in our one-of-a-kind program.
The first annual SEALs for Sunshine event concluded with a gala dinner that was hosted at Camp Sunshine’s 27-acre Campus in Casco, and celebrated the Team’s impressive accomplishment. Distinguished guest speaker, Justin Legg, addressed members of the audience prior to the awards ceremony, and attendees were able to meet the Team.
2016 No Man Left Behind Challenge
A 40-mile Circumnavigation of Sebago Lake
In 2016, a team of four active duty Navy and Coast Guard participants completed the No Man Left Behind Challenge; a physically demanding 40-mile circumnavigation of Sebago Lake comprised of a bike, swim, run, swim, bike, run, swim, bike, canoe.
The event was specifically designed by CDR Mike W. to mimic the challenges Camp Sunshine families face after their child’s diagnosis. Be sure to check out all the photos from the No Man Left Behind Challenge and Gala where guests had the opportunity to mingle with the team!
Learn more about the 2016 No Man Left Behind Challenge by watching this piece put together by Bill Green’s Maine.
2015 Summit to Sunshine Challenge
A Reverse Triathlon Like No Other
On July 30, 2015 the SEALs embarked on their next mission for Camp Sunshine - the 2015 Summit to Sunshine challenge. The event began with a run down the tallest peak in the Northeast, Mount Washington. It was a leg-pounding, heart-racing, 7.6-mile adventure - covering 6,300 vertical feet!
Once the first stage was completed, SEALs for Sunshine team members grabbed their bikes for a gut-wrenching and at times ridiculously hilly 83.4-mile cycle through Western Maine.
Finally, the team arrived at Camp Mataponi, a local summer camp located across the lake from Camp Sunshine. During this last leg of their event, the team completed their 3.9-mile swim to Camp Sunshine. When all is said and done, the team will completed an impressive 94.9-mile challenge!
This reverse triathlon completely disregarded the usual premise of getting the hardest part over with first by ending with the swim portion. Additionally, the team needed to be in the best shape of their lives to start with the punishment that is the alpine course of Mount Washington. Read more about the Team's adventure in this Boston Globe article by Stan Grossfeld.
All of us at Camp Sunshine are humbled by the efforts of the SEALs participants, and we salute their unwavering commitment to raising money for these incredible families again in 2016!
2017 Around The World Swim
A West Coast Endurance Event
The Around the World Swim was a 10-mile open ocean swim around California’s Coronado Island on April 29, 2017. The event was inspired by the SEAL Hell Week evolution of the same name when students paddle small boats around Coronado Island. This swim symbolized the endurance and strength required by Camp Sunshine families.
Active and former military members began their swim on the beach of the famous Hotel del Coronado at sunrise. After navigating the 54OF waters, sea life, and boat traffic into San Diego bay, the swimmers finished at Glorietta Bay Park. The Beach Landing Party gave participants a chance to mingle with event sponsors and Camp Sunshine families from the San Diego area. The event raised in excess of $100,000 to support sending military families to Camp Sunshine.
“Just like the Camp Sunshine children and their families this event will support, the swimmers can’t quit – failure is not an option!” CDR Mike W., event creator said.