By Ron Matz

BALTIMORE (WJZ) –Hundreds of people will take the plunge Sunday at Rocky Point Beach.  It’s to raise money to fight pancreatic cancer.

Ron Matz reports Baltimore’s fourth annual PurpleSwim is in memory of a man who loved the water.

It’s time for PurpleSwim Baltimore, promoting awareness and raising money for pancreatic cancer research. 

The swim is held in memory of Bud Beatty, who was 56 when he died of the disease in 2002.

“My dad was a swimmer his whole life. He raised me as a swimmer.  We spent a lot of time out on the water.  He passed away in 2002 from pancreatic cancer. After he died, I wanted to find a way to raise awareness for this horrible disease and we came up with this open water swim,” said Tim Beatty, organizer of PurpleSwim Baltimore.

With five swimmers the first year and 250 last year, Beatty’s family calls the support amazing.

“I can’t explain it. As the years went on to watch it grow is phenomenal.  To see the community come together, people are coming from as far away as California to swim this event,” said Tim Beatty.

“It’s amazing.  To be there and see all of the volunteers and all of the people, and just know it’s all because of one man and his beliefs and love of swimming,” said Joy Beatty, wife of Bud Beatty.

Jim Epperlein is a pancreatic cancer survivor.

“I nearly died several times from a lung collapse and a blood infection.  My surgeon said, ‘Jim, you’re like one out of 100.  I expect you to be around for decades.  That’s unheard of with pancreatic cancer. There’s a 6 percent survival rate,” said Epperlein.  “Of the major cancers, it’s the only cancer with a survival rate in the single digits and that hasn’t changed in 40 years.  We’re finally starting to do something about it.  The Pancreatic Cancer Education and Research Act is in front of Congress right now.”

In addition to being a varsity swimmer at Poly, Bud Beatty started the swim team for the Carroll County YMCA. He also qualified for the Olympic trials.

“Bud was a wonderful swimmer. His dream was swimming. Our family swam every weekend together,” said Joy Beatty.  “I have a lot of mixed emotions.  Sometimes it’s very hard, but I have to think of it positively and what we are able to accomplish by raising this money. Hopefully, we can help others through what we went through as a family.”

In his memory, hundreds will take the plunge at Rocky Point.

“We need people’s support.  We need people at the swim on Sunday.  I’m here representing those who can’t speak out.  There will be 43,000 people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in the next year; 37,000 to 38,000 will die within a year,” said Epperlein.

Online registration for Sunday’s PurpleSwim ends at 9 a.m. Friday, but you can still register at the event.

“We hope to raise $30,500 this year and I think we’re going to easily beat that.  The registration web site for donations will be open for 90 days after the event,” said Tim Beatty.

Click here for more information.


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