The amount Lucas Gentina raised for elders in long-term care at Saanich Peninsula Hospital seemed to have left him more breathless than the two kilometres he swam through the icy waters of Elk Lake on Monday morning.
When told after completing his feat he had raised $8,500 with the swim, he expressed genuine surprise.
“That’s a lot of money, man, ” he said, sporting a big grin. “How? $8,500, dude. Oh man, when I got in, I thought it was like $5,000 or something. That’s great. Thank you for being such an awesome community.”
Lucas Gentina swam 2K across Elk Lake Monday to help raise money for equipment serving residents living in long-term care at Saanich Peninsula Hospital where he works as rehabilitation assistant pic.twitter.com/KgESLDaqtq
— Wolfgang Depner (@wolfgang_depner) January 17, 2022
Gentina, who works as a rehabilitation assistant for seniors in long-term care at the hospital in Central Saanich, said conditions were good during his swim, which started at 10 a.m. at Water Ski Beach in the lake’s northwest corner and finished at Eagle Beach near the Victoria City Rowing Club.
He never doubted he would finish the swim and in fact, found time to watch an eagle fly overhead.
“I was like, ‘wow, that’s awesome,’” he said. “Yeah, it was cool.”
As Gentina approached the shoreline accompanied by a safety boat, the group of friends, work colleagues and representatives of the Saanich Peninsula Hospital and Health Care Foundation waiting at the finish area grew to about a dozen.
He hopes the money can help buy more wheelchairs for residents at the facility. While the exact use of the funds has yet to be determined, Gentina is already planning his next swim, across Saanich Inlet. And unlike Monday’s chilly endeavour, he plans to tackle the event during the warmer summer months.
“That’s our next big thing,” he said, adding an obvious statement from spending nearly an hour in frigid water: “I’m cold, man!”
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