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Their lives were touched by cancer. By taking to the water, they're helping to fundraise.

Posted at 11:37 PM, Sep 08, 2022

RICHMOND, Va. -- It is a sad reality that almost all of us have been affected by cancer in one way or another.

Whether you or a loved one has been through that battle, it changes things for more than the patient.

Recently, Richmond hosted a fundraiser aimed at eliminating those battles and it drew hundreds from across the disease's spectrum.

Caycee Buscaglia has spent most of her life in and out of the water around Central Virginia.

She was good enough to swim collegiately at East Carolina but never really considered her efforts to be more than just exercise for herself.

She knew about Swim Across America's nationwide efforts to raise money for cancer research and even donated to a friend's fundraising here locally but never participated herself until her own diagnosis.

"When mine was diagnosed in November of 2020, it was very much a surprise and they detected it early. Some of the doctors my mother worked for and that also did her surgeries worked with me to get the best care," Buscaglia said. "It's devastating. You think oh, now it's me."

Buscaglia knew about cancer all too well. Her mom also had breast cancer and she lost a husband to leukemia. She credits her years as a competitive swimmer with helping in her own battle, citing countless times as an athlete being in situations that were outside her comfort zone.

"When you're handed that diagnosis or a bump in the road, you have to do something. You have to make choices, maybe choices you don't feel comfortable with, but you have to make some choices," Buscaglia said.

So did the scouts of troop 555.

Their scoutmaster lost a son to cancer just after he left for college. The void is evident on the father's face and voice to this day.

"It's every parent's worst nightmare to bury one of your children. Here's a boy that was just really starting out his life, finding his way and cancer got him right from the start," Rod Morgan said.

With only a casual mention of this year's fundraiser, Morgan's son Jonathan and several of his fellow scouts swam and volunteered to help at this year's event, not because it was required, but because of how cancer had even peripherally touched their lives.

"They don't have to do it. They're doing it because they want to do it. They're doing it because they want to be involved. They want to do the right thing or because they know someone who's had cancer," Morgan said.

Buscaglia joined for the same reasons.

"There's so many people involved and who have cancer, are recovering from cancer. In reflection of it all, I'm swimming for them," Buscaglia said. "I've wondered how I can perpetuate both of their memories and give back to the community. You can stroke a check and say you do it but this gets me on board. But I also think it brings awareness and I don't mind having a voice for awareness."

If you are interested in donating, there is still time even though the event has passed.

You can contribute money by visiting the organization's website. All money raised locally will stay local and will benefit the Massey Cancer Center.