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Father-son duo to swim for cancer awareness

VIENNA — Last year, Vienna resident Gil Rieger joined his son, Andy, in Texas to swim in Lake Houston to raise funds and awareness for cancer research.

Gil Rieger said he and Andy will be returning on April 18 to Houston to swim in the lake on Team Rae in memory of Andy’s wife, Jordana Rae Rieger, who died of cancer in April 2018.

The Houston event is part of a nationwide effort of swimming events for Swim Across America.

“We are doing this to continue Jordana’s fight and to help others who are battling cancer. This event brings awareness and raises funds for the fight against cancer,” Gil said.

He said Sunday they are scheduled to take part at the event. He said there has been no word of the event being rescheduled or canceled due to the coronavirus concern nationwide.

The swim event is an open swim with participants given the choice to swim either a 5K or a half mile. Gil plans to swim the half mile and Andy, who was a swimmer in college, will be swimming the 5K.

Andy said Jordana battled cancer for more than five years and underwent treatments at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. The funds raised by the event will go the cancer center.

Gil and Andy said Jordana fought valiantly until the end and spent as much time as she possible with her husband and their daughters, Isabella and Aurora.

Gil said the charitable swim is marking its second year in Houston, while other Swim Across America events have been held throughout the country for nearly 30 years.

Andy said he is aware of 25 other events planned that day for Swim Across America. He said last year the event, which was held in May, raised between $165,000 and $170,000.

“My dad and I enjoyed being part of this and is the reason we are doing it again.” he said.

Andy said last year’s event brought many cancer survivors who cheered the swimmers on. Participants of all ages take part.

Andy and Jordana are 1991 graduates of Mathews High School. He said many of his classmates from West Point also will take part either swimming or helping at the event.

Gil said last year the weather was in the 70s with clear skies, and he hopes it will be the same this year.

“Our families and friends will be there and helping us,” Andy said.

Gil and Andy are as of early March among the top fundraisers for the event with Team Rae at $5,484.

To help support the efforts, donations can be made to www.swimacrossamerica.org or by check at Swim Across America, 11600 N. Community House Road, Suite 100, Charlotte, North Carolina, 28277. Include in the memo “Team Rae” and the name of swimmer being supported.

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