Marilyn Clarke Bergen standing in front of Lake Okanagan. (Contributed/Grandmothers for Grandmothers Campaign)

Woman attempts swim across Okanagan Lake for fundraiser

The swim will raise funds for the Grandmothers for Grandmothers Campaign

A South Okanagan woman will be attempting to swim across Lake Okanagan to fulfill a personal goal she set when she was a child.

Marilyn Clarke Bergen, grew up in Kelowna with her family which included six siblings who swam on the Ogopogo Swim Team. The family would swim across the lake every August to wrap up the summer season. As a child, Bergen was not confident enough to join but told herself she would one day swim across the lake.

“Since growing up in Kelowna and being a member of the Ogopogo Swim Team in the ’60s, I have wanted to swim across Lake Okanagan. Now some 50-plus years later, I am taking on this personal challenge to complete this swim and finally be able to say I did it,” wrote Bergen on her fundraiser page for Grandmothers for Africa.

Not, only will competing the swim across the lake fulfil a personal goal but she hopes it meets a financial one as well. She is raising money for the South Okanagan Grandmothers for Africa and the Kelowna Grandmothers for Africa, part of the Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign by The Stephen Lewis Foundation, which aims to help grandmothers raise children orphaned by the AIDS and COVID-19 pandemics.

So far, her fundraiser has brought in $475 of the $3,000 goal.

Bergen will be joined by her athletic family who will cheer her on as she swims across the lake. Her middle son, Gabe Bergen won silver as part of Canada’s men’s eight rowing team in the London 2012 Olympics. While her oldest, Karl Bergen is a former MMA Fighter. Her husband, Bob Bergen, competed in the men’s coxed pair rowing event in the 1976 Summer Olympics and will canoe beside her.

Bergen’s swim is scheduled for Saturday, July 17 at 9 a.m. and will begin at Gellatly Bay Park in West Kelowna.

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