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Laps for a coach
Village Green Swim-A-Thon helps raise funds for brain cancer victim Hendee

Dozens of Village Green Swim Team members, ages 5 to 18, helped raise money for a coach, diagnosed with a severe form of brain cancer in May, by swimming an average of more than one mile Friday morning.

“This is a real personal cause for me,” said Anita Dinwiddie, VG Gators head coach, about cancer victim and popular swim coach, Joe Hendee.

Hendee, coach of Knoxville Racquet Club Swim Team for 20 years, also has served as assistant swim coach at The University of Tennessee for 38 seasons. “I’ve known Joe for 35 years, His wife [Shelli] is one of my best friends,” Dinwiddie said.

“His two daughters and my two daughters met in preschool and became best friends.”

The annual Janie B. Sharp Swim-A-Thon at Village Green pool July 2 “went well over my goal, I’m pretty sure, of $2,000,” Dinwiddie said, because this year’s turnout of Swim-A-Thon participants “is the biggest we’ve done in many, many years.”

Swim participants and event organizers recruit sponsors to donate a certain dollar amount for each lap swam, or simply donate a flat amount for participating.

Dinwiddie said she believed a few of the older participants swam up to 300 laps; “that’s like, five miles, it’s just some incredible amount.”

“Some kids, they would get sponsors from friends or family or neighbors,” Dinwiddie added.

A portion of the funds came from sales, mostly food.

Despite having a severe form of brain cancer, Hendee received “a very optimistic” prognosis in late June because “it was caught early,” Dinwiddie said.

Funds raised for Hendee at Village Green pool are distributed through Green-Ferguson Brain Tumor Fund in Knox County.


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