On Sunday, August 17, 14-year-old Cali broke a 50-year-old world record. She became the youngest person since 1964 to complete The Big Swim.
This year, 50 swimmers attempted to cross the Northumberland Straight, an open body of water that forms the southern part of the Gulf of St. Lawrence and stretches from the shores of New Brunswick to the shores of Prince Edward Island—also known as The Big Swim with its 8.6 to 10.5 mile distance depending on the current. It’s an annual tradition for seasoned swimmers to fundraise money for Brigadoon Camp.
Cali’s goal was to raise $10,000 for Brigadoon—a camp that gives children with disabilities or chronic illnesses a chance to make connections with other children. It takes $1,000 to send one child to camp.
Fueled with Isagenix through a year’s worth of practice, Cali had one very important person in mind during her six-hour swim.
“I wanted to complete this swim for my cousin, Kevin, who died of brain cancer when he was 15,” explains Cali. “He never had the opportunity to go to camp, even though he wanted to. I want to give children these opportunities to be around others so they all know they’re supported.”
It was last year at the Isagenix annual event, Celebration, in Las Vegas when Colin and Laura, Cali’s parents and 2-Star Golden Circle, Executives, received a phone call from their daughter.
“Cali said to me, ‘I just want you to know that I’m going to commit to doing The Big Swim next year,’” recalls Colin. “Cali then explained, ‘I want to send as many kids as possible to camp. My goal is ten.’”
Colin and Laura were a bit skeptical. They weren’t the door-to-door fundraising types and to send 10 children to camp was a lofty ambition.
“So I tell Cali, ‘Let’s set a more realistic goal,’” laughs Colin. “And she bites back saying, ‘I am going to raise $10,000, that’s the number that is realistic to me.’”
Cali’s fundraising theme was, “Kids Helping Kids Dream Even Bigger.” The fundraising began through the Internet and community fundraising. Cali’s grandfather even held bake sales and raised $2,200.
The word on Isagenix Facebook and Twitter outlets spread rapidly, too.
“Our IsaFamily is incredible,” shares Colin. “We were getting support from Australia to Hong Kong—it just extended worldwide.”
Cali’s been using Isagenix products for five years—and she’s definitely all about giving her body the right nutrition.
“Every day after morning and evening practices, I would have my IsaLean® Pro in Natural Vanilla with Isagenix Greens!®, IsaFruits®, Ionix® Supreme and Ageless Essentials™,” shares Cali.
On the day of The Big Swim, weather conditions were scheduled to be “perfect.” However, conditions drastically changed, temperatures dropped and the wind picked up, making the straight’s current stronger and bigger.
“There was a point where my kayaker and I were stuck at the same spot for a good 45 minutes to an hour,” recalls Cali. “It was difficult to see because the waves and boats were coming and plucking swimmers out of the water who had succumbed to hypothermia or seasickness.”
With her safety kayaker, Erin, on standby, Cali was fueled with Want More Energy?®, two Chocolate Cream Crisp IsaLean Bars, two Honey Almond Crisp FiberSnacks!™ and four Milk Chocolate IsaDelight Plus™.
“It was probably one of the scariest things I’ve had to watch,” recalls Colin. “The currents and the tides changed so quickly—it was like swimming in a giant washing machine. Clearly, the big thing that kept her going was the mental preparation. She was mentally and physically strong, and was determined to reach her end goal.”
After the six hours of swimming, Cali completed The Big Swim. Now, she’s ready to take on the world: The goal-oriented swimmer surpassed her objective and reached $11,700.
With the help of her school, they raised an extra $300 in honor of Cali’s accomplishments and cousin. Her school even threw a parade in honor of her new world record and accomplishing her fundraising goal.
With that, Cali raised enough money to send 12 children to Brigdoon—$12,000. The 49 swimmers from The Big Swim raised over $300,000.
So what’s next for this ambitious, talented teenager who’s on her way to begin high school next year?
Cali will not only be competing at the Eastern Canadian Championships and Junior National Championships, she has also committed to The Big Swim again next year and wants to send even more kids to camp. She, however, has even bigger goals in mind.
“I’m shooting to make it to the Olympic trials in 2016,” says Cali. “And if I don’t, then I’ll go to the 2020 Olympic trials and make it then. Right now, everything just feels incredible and I know that I can make things happen if I just put my mind to it and never give up.”