Swimmers Honor A Former Team Member While Raising Funds For Cancer Research

The Carleton College swim team at last year's Hour of Power relay.

The Carleton College swim team at last year’s Hour of Power relay.

From 9 am to 11:30 on the morning of Saturday, April 26, swimmers from the New Trier Swim Club will come together for the eighth annual Hour of Power Relay. This annual event was designed to honor the memory of swimmer Ted Mullin and to help raise funds for research at the University of Chicago into the causes and treatment of sarcoma in young people.

Ted Mullin, a 2002 New Trier High School graduate, was an Academic All-American, an Illinois State Scholar and one of the school’s top swimmers. He went on to swim for the team at Carleton College in Minnesota. Tragically, during his sophomore year at college, he became ill. He was diagnosed with sarcoma, a rare cancer, in May 2004.

Between June and November of that year, Ted went through surgery at Comer Children’s Hospital at the University of Chicago to remove the primary tumor behind his right knee. To make sure the tumor cells had been eradicated, he also had chemo- and radiation- therapy. He returned to Carleton in remission in January of 2005.

But by the end of his junior year the disease had recurred and spread to his lungs. He underwent more chemotherapy and a series of lung surgeries beginning in May of 2005, but the cancer was unstoppable. He passed away from the disease on September 3, 2006.

To honor their lost teammate, the Carleton College swimming and diving teams originated the Hour of Power on November 7, 2006. Team members invited other collegiate swimming and diving teams to take part.

It caught on. By 2012-13, the Hour of Power involved 171 teams – colleges, high schools and swim clubs like the New Trier Swim Club – and more than 8,300 participating athletes in the United States and abroad. The Hour of Power has raised nearly $800,000 for the Ted Mullin Fund in support of sarcoma research at the University of Chicago.

The 2014 New Trier Hour of Power fund- and awareness-raising event will be held at the pool on the New Trier Northfield campus, 7 Happ Road, Northfield, IL. The format includes various ages and groups swimming together. The workout consists of a one-hour continuous relay, with each swimmer choosing his or her stroke but swimming two laps at top speed. This is followed by a brief recovery and then more high-speed laps—for an hour.

There are enough volunteer swimmers this year for two hour-long sessions. The first session begins at 9 a.m. and lasts until 10 a.m. There will be a brief rally from 10 to 10:30 a.m., including a raffle drawing. Ted’s parents, Rick and Mary Mullin, will be present.

One of the rally speakers will be John Cunningham, MD, professor of pediatrics at the University of Chicago and an internationally known expert in the treatment and research of childhood cancers and blood diseases. Cunningham will explain how the pediatric cancer team at the University uses funds the swimmers raise to find new ways to treat and, over time, cure this rare disease.

“The enduring commitment of the New Trier swimmers to Ted’s vision ensures that his commitment to a cure for this devastating disease will be realized,” Cunningham said.

Spectators are welcome to attend the Hour of Power. More details about the event are available on the NTSC website. Those who want to make a donation to pediatric cancer research at the University of Chicago can do so via the Ted Mullin Fund website, which includes instructions on how to donate by check or online.

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