Since April, I have been training for The Navy SEAL Swim and Run. This year’s swim will honor the 20th anniversary of the attacks on September 11, 2001, and recognize the tenth anniversary of Extortion 17, which involved the tragic loss of a U.S. CH-47 Chinook helicopter carrying 38 servicemembers and crew, resulting in the worst loss of U.S. military life in a single incident in the Afghanistan campaign. We will be raising funds for those veterans who sacrificed their time and lives for our freedom that have fallen on hard times, especially during COVID 19.
As you may know, on January 15, 2009, I was a passenger on US Airways Flight 1549. During the final 60 seconds of the plane’s descent into the Hudson River, I peered out my window seat, 15A, and saw the river beneath us. I prepared myself mentally and physically for the plunge into those cold waters, closed my eyes, and prayed.
In what has become known as the “Miracle on the Hudson,” the plane landed in the Hudson River. I opened my eyes to find that I was alive, but the next few minutes almost retook my life as I barely survived the frigid water that cold January day. Thanks to the quick work of the coast guard, NY waterways, and first responders, my life was changed forever.
I am now preparing myself to take a plunge back into the Hudson River, immerse myself in the water that almost took my life, for a fundraising swim from the Statue of Liberty to Ellis Island and then to Battery Park. At each stop, I will join the SEALs to perform pushups and pullups to honor America’s liberties, diversity, and those who have fought to preserve them. Upon our arrival at Battery Park, we will run towards One World Trade Center and end our journey at America’s Response Monument to finish up in tribute to those lost on 9/11 by doing a final 100 pushups.
I have been told I’m crazy, that I am putting my health at risk, and I am asked daily why I am doing this?
After surviving the plane crash, I started receiving calls from people worldwide, asking me that tough question, “How did you get back on a plane”?
The question now is: “Why would you get back into the Hudson River after you had to swim to save your life?”
Today, more than ever, people need firsthand experience and guidance on how to bounce back from tumultuous times and grow from traumatic life events and crises. My goal is simple. I want to support those who have sacrificed their lives to give us all our freedom by showing how to bounce back from the turbulent times our veterans and first responders have faced.
I have invested my time and effort to help raise over $14,000,000 for the Red Cross. Now I want to raise funds to support those going through traumatic life experiences, including the United States Military, and dedicate my efforts to help the veteran community.
My goal is to raise $7500 for the GIGO Fund.
My ask is simple; please donate $15 (or any multiple of $15 if you like) to help me achieve my goal. The number 15 is significant because my life changed on January 15, onboard US Airways 1549; while sitting in seat 15A, the plane hit the Hudson River at 15:33 hours, and I swam 15 yards to the ferry.
Dave Sanderson is Returning to the Hudson River to Swim with the Navy Seals | Dave Sanderson Speaks