Women Swim Around Island To Raise Money For Cancer Victim

KELLEYS ISLAND, Ohio (AP) - Two women swam for more than seven hours around Kelleys Island in Lake Erie to raise money for a special trip for a a cancer victim.

Jeni Hammond and Cindra Mielke completed their 15-mile swim Sunday afternoon to send a 7-year-old girl battling cancer to Walt Disney World.

Mielke, 42, of Castalia, and Hammond, 45, of Perkins Township, enjoyed warm water and calm conditions for the first five hours. But as they swam around the northern end of the island, boats were kicking up large waves.

"We both kind of hit the wall there. We were both kind of floating there, and the waves just killed us," Hammond said.

Two support boats followed the pair, giving them nutrition supplements and drinks.

A crowd of about 20 well-wishers cheered as the swimmers gingerly emerged from the water at the rocky shoreline.

Mielke estimated they have raised nearly $6,000 to send Holly Hofelich, 7, of Clyde, and her family to Florida next spring.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)