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Swim Team Honors Sean Fischel's Memory with Fundraiser

The Riverton Country Club swim team will hold a swim-a-thon Tuesday in honor of the 7-year-old, who passed away earlier this year.

Sean Fischel
Sean Fischel
When 7-year-old Sean Fischel died earlier this year, it wasn't just his immediate family that felt the loss. 

Sean, who died of a rare autoimmune disorder in January, was a member of the Riverton Wave Swim Team at Riverton Country Club. And though he was only there for a year, his death "affected the entire team to an unreal extent," said head coach Rob Wilson.

The team comprises roughly 100 children between the ages of 5 and 18—all of who knew Sean in one way or another—and though Sean's passing was like a gut punch to both teammates and parents, it had another impact as well, Wilson said. "It brought us closer together."

The team dedicated its season in Sean's memory and nearly won a division championship this year, but fell short at a meet last week. 

In honor of Sean, the team will hold a swim-a-thon fundraiser Tuesday, July 9, at the country club, with proceeds benefiting the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and research into HLH (hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis), the disease that ended Sean's life.

Even after all the love and support she's already received, Sean's mother, Kim, said she's still overwhelmed at just how much support her family is getting from the community. 

"It's just so overwhelming in such a beautiful way," she said. "Sean's memory is still alive, in the hearts and minds of everybody." 

The swim team is raising money a couple different ways: through pledges for swimmers in the swim-a-thon, and also selling rubber ducks for $5 apiece.

The point of the ducks is "so everybody there could see visually what's being donated in Sean's memory," explained Kim, who said the team is hoping to fill a kiddie pool with at least 600 ducks, or $3,000 worth—though they're hoping to raise much more than that overall. 

The event will also feature a dunk tank, relay races, a water balloon toss and more.

Though there is a competitive component to the event, Wilson said the focus will be on fun, because that's what Sean was all about.

"He was about having a good time, cheering on his friends," said Wilson. "He always had a smile on his face."

The swim-a-thon runs from 9:30 a.m. to noon next Tuesday, July 9, at the Riverton Country Club pool. The deadline to sign up is July 5. For more information, check out the attached PDF.

Read more about Sean Fischel here:

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