Doug McConnell is a 56 year old resident of Barrington but what stands out about him is his choice of swimming destinations. He has swam the English Channel and the Catalina Island with hopes to finish the Triple Crown of swimming, Manhattan Island this June 28th. With each swim he raises money for ALS and with over $220,000 in donations to date, his hopes are high for hitting the quarter million dollar amount by year end. He is a true inspiration.
Check out his stories about the swim, what goes through his mind and what’s coming up next in Parts 1 & 2. Here’s what Doug wants people to remember about him.
Doug: What do you want people to remember most about you?
1. That he did what he could.
2. That he fought the fights that needed to be fought, rather than just the fights that could be won. Swimming for a cause is a bit of a novelty, and I have been able to capitalize on that novelty to bring awareness (and tons of money, frankly) to a disease that at times feels hopeless. ALS , commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is characterized by powerlessness, and everyone involved feels it. Using my swimming to raise money for ALS research at the Les Turner ALS Research Laboratories at Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine makes me feel like I am doing something, and for a while I can feel less powerless.
We lost my father to ALS in 2006, and other members of my family are struggling through the shipwreck that is ALS as we speak. Nothing I can do will be enough to save them, but my hope is that our little difference – our fight against ALS – will leave a legacy that will mean that others won’t have to go through what ours and other families have had to endure.
I learned a million lessons from my father, though I can’t think of a single one that was delivered as an explicit lesson. I am reminded of them every day. Now I am in the position of being the teacher to our four children, but have taken a page from my father’s book to teach by doing and by example. We won’t know for many years how or if the lessons of A Long Swim will resonate with them, but I think it will be positive.