In order to honor her uncle, who has battled with diabetes, Marian Cardwell will get in the water Wednesday morning and won't get out until she swims 106 miles.

Cardwell, who graduated from Calvin University 10 years ago, took off from Torch Lake River public access site on Torch Lake, near Traverse City, and will swim the length of Torch Lake six times, racking up well over 100 miles over a sixty hour period.

“My uncle was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1955 and observing his perseverance and zest for life while living with the disease was continually inspiring,” said Marian Cardwell. “My uncle was a great supporter of the Chicago Diabetes Project and after his passing, I have tried to continue to raise support to further their great cause of finding a cure to type 1 diabetes.”

Cardwell is about to attend medical school at Central Michigan University, and currently calls Oak Park, Illinois home. The event will raise money for diabetes research through the Chicago Diabetes Project. She is 31 year old.

If successful in the Torch Lake swim, Cardwell would surpass the longest multi-segment lake swim record by over 30 miles and would have completed one of the longest open water swims in history.

Cardwell is no stranger to long distance marathon swimming, having previously swam across the English Channel in 2012 for the same cause and most recently placed second in the 36-mile ultra-marathon END-WET race in June 2021.

The original plan was to swim the distance in Lake Michigan, but logistical issues caused her to move it inland to Torch Lake.

At least two other swimmers have swum the length of Torch Lake, but neither did it multiple times.

Cardwell also plans to complete the 106 total mile swim using what is known as "Channel Rules". “Channel Rules” are defined as “Each swimmer may wear one textile swimming costume, one bathing cap - latex or silicone, and goggles. No wetsuits are permitted.”

The Chicago Diabetes Project (CDP) is working to make islet cell transplantation a viable treatment option for type 1 diabetes. The CDP is a global collaboration of scientists, researchers, physicians, and surgeons with one mission: cure diabetes.

You can keep track of Cardwell's swim at GreatDiabetesSwim.com, and you can donate to the cause at GoFundMe.

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