Read The Quintessential Barrington Magazine Here (this is a link)

Quintessential Barrington Magazine has covered our bionic boyfriend magestically … as only they can. The article is cleverly, cleverly written by David Rutter and the photographs are, yup, they’re really nice.

Lisa Stamos, the Publisher and Editor, has waved her magic wand over A Long Swim and brought it to new heights. Copies of the magazine are arriving in every Barrington home and business right now.

I’ve had the honor of working for QB as a photographer for a long time now. It’s no secret that once a person is covered in a feature article they no longer can go to the grocery store in peace.

Doug was at meetings in Chicago today and when I spoke with him on the phone I told him that people were receiving the magazine and that it was on line. I reminded him that his days of going to Jewel were over. He said, “Well, then, I’ll enjoy the anonymity of LaSalle Street.”

To quote Lisa … let the fun begin!

Use the link above to read the article.

In Over My Head

He’ll have his team on the boat and they’ll all have different jobs. Someone will manage the GPS information that is emitted from the device he will wear, someone will manage twitter, someone will manage the nutrition and someone will count his strokes and make sure his timing is even. Someone will monitor water temperature and someone will monitor what’s in the water itself … debris, jellyfish, whales. And then there is someone who manages all of the above. He’s trying to figure out who that person is and he’s kind of looking at me while he’s telling me this, hoping I’ll volunteer to be the Czar of this whole scene.

And self doubt is creeping in. I know that I’m the logical choice. I’m the Czar of a lot of things. But I’m also a safety girl and a huge believer in job sharing so I’m thinking that this Czar needs to be two people. A total of 8 are allowed on the guide boat … in addition to the guide boat’s crew … so, while he hasn’t even named me yet as Czar #1, there is definately room for Czar #2.

Medtronic Will Match Donations Up To $50,000

These pictures show the Medtronic “Prestige Disc” that is housed in Doug’s neck.

Last Friday, it came true. We are pleased to announce that Medtronic, the medical device company headquartered in Minneapolis, has partnered with A Long Swim as a corporate sponsor. They will match any donation up to $50,000.

A long time ago, now, when Doug first thought of swimming the English Channel we both wondered if he could do it for a charity and make the project work for more than his bucket list. I love to create photography exhibits for nonprofits as an artful way to market a nonprofit to new eyes, but what he’s created here is much more than any project I ever dreamed up.

A big hats off to Bob Lee for being the architect of this model. At the age of 65 Bob created a “Ride For Three Reasons” and he rode his bike 6,500 for three charities, ALS was one of them. Sure, he checked a box off his bucket list. But he also raised $400,000 to spread between three charities. I got to know him really well because I volunteered to photograph his project. His website is

I know my entries are usually a little sassy but this is serious stuff. This is “the waves beneath his wings” kind of stuff. I am in awe.



He grew up swimming at the Y, we send our kids to a Y Camp, and he’s on the board of directors for the Y Camp he attended as a child. The place where he first open water swam. Camp Edwards on Lake Buelah.

Fancy health clubs just don’t feel right. He trains at our local Y in the winters.

Took this clip at the Bueler Y with the newest “Flip Video.”

"It Was One Year Ago Today That I Had My Surgery"

At 4:30 this morning we were half in and out of sleep. The anticipation of perhaps the biggest snowstorm since 1967 has everything catawampus.

“It was one year ago today that I had my surgery. We were getting ready to leave the house right about now.”

That was a bad dream.

We had the kids all set with their orders. When we left the house it was snowy and still dark. Doug could hardly walk. We were headed to Chicago’s Northwestern Hospital so they could replace his C6/C7 vertebrae with a “prestige disc” created by Medtronic. This bionic disc had only been in our country for 3 years. What makes it different than other device is that there is only a 6 week recovery time because the device is screwed into the adjoining vertebrae. So there’s little mending. AND … drum roll … because the device is a ball and hinge, the recipient retains 100% of his mobility. Quite important to someone who wants to swim the English Channel. You kind of need that 100% mobility.

We had visited many doctors and, as it turns out, the doctors at Northwestern were the only ones who could get this “prestige disc.” I’ll never forget the resassurance his doctor, John Song, gave us. “I am a neurosurgeon at Northwestern and I always get what I want.” Box checked. He was our guy.

That wintery day at Northwestern was scarey. The surgery took longer than expected, because of the crowded muscles in his neck. I sat alone in the waiting room for five hours, surrounded by a lot of people and a lot of tv screens. The silence was deafening. The view of Chicago was awesome. I had faith but I cried little cries that wouldn’t stop.

When it was over, John Song was the first person I saw. Doug was the second.

He was quiet and a little beaten up, but he was fine. Bad dream over.

I had promised not to take any pictures. But I didn’t promise not to shoot video. I have a short clip of Doug fresh out of surgery telling me that he is, officially, bionic. He didn’t even know I took it.

That’ll be coming up in a future post.

One year ago right now he was in surgery. Exactly one year later, as I write this, he is swimming 6,000+ yards at the YMCA. And he left the house when it was snowy and still dark.