GREENWICH, Conn. -- With a college degree in hand and a full-time job with CNN in Washington, it’s hard to envision the cancer fight Greenwich native Brooke Lorenz faced when she was just 17 years old.
Still, the 23-year-old woman recalls hearing those three words no one wants to hear -- “You have cancer” -- and how it impacted her. “I was just about to head off to college and start the next phase of life,’’ Lorenz said. “Those three words rock your world just about harder than anything else.”
Lorenz, a former swimmer for Greenwich High School, overcame cancer and now helps others do the same. She is swimming in Saturday’s Swim Across America Greenwich/Stamford event to raise money for the Alliance for Cancer Gene Therapy. The Stamford-based agency is the nation’s only nonprofit dedicated to cancer gene and cell therapy.
Lorenz has raised nearly $8,000 for the Alliance, placing her third among all swimmers and hopes to raise more by the time of the swim on June 25. Her 13-member team, Chemhoes and Bros, has raised more than $14,000. Brooke started the team with her sister, Paige, in 2011. Click here to visit the team fundraising page.
“Suddenly your life becomes doctors, treatments, doing just about anything to fight off the cancer that has invaded your body and trying not to lose yourself along the way." -- Brooke Lorenz
Lorenz swims in the SAA annually. and her motivation is her own fight with cancer. She was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma in February 2010, just a few months before entering college.
“Suddenly your life becomes doctors, treatments, doing just about anything to fight off the cancer that has invaded your body and trying not to lose yourself along the way,’’ she said. “No cancer journey is the same, no cancer journey is easy but for me, what got me through was keeping focused on the light at the end of the tunnel and trying my hardest to stay positive when it becomes all to simple to give up.”
Lorenz fought cancer with the same grit and passion she displayed as a young swimmer. She helped the Cardinals win the State Open championship in 2009, swimming the opening leg on the victorious 200 medley relay. In high school, she was a two-time All-American in swimming and water polo. Her SAA team includes some former teammates from her high school days.
Lorenz graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder with a degree in journalism, joined CNN as an intern in 2014 and was promoted to a full-time role last year.
She is cancer-free now. And leading the fight to help others overcome their cancer battles.
“Not everyone is as lucky as me, lucky to have heard the BEST three words.. 'You're cancer-free,’’ she said. “I'm swimming for all the people fighting cancer right now, I'm swimming for loved ones who lost that fight and most importantly, I'm swimming for all the people who will hear the words 'You have cancer.’”
Saturday’s swim begins at 7:30 a.m. For more information on the event, click here .