On April 11th, 2012, Michael Heaney, former swimmer and 2009 graduate of The College of New Jersey was hit by a car while riding his bicycle. He survived miraculously but was left in a vegetative state due to severe brain trauma. For over a year and a half Mike’s family, friends and community worked towards helping him recover. Unfortunately though, Mike’s injuries proved to be too severe, and he passed away in November 2013 due to brain complications from his accident.
During the year and a half that Mike was trying to recover, we started the ocean swim, 1500 Meters for Mike, to raise money to pay for Mike’s medical care. We were overjoyed to see how generously the community rallied around our friend and teammate. Over the past two years Meters for Mike was the largest ocean swim in New Jersey and raised around $40,000, enough money to cover the costs of Michael’s medical bills, care, and funeral.
In that light, we discussed what direction the charity and swim should take going forward. We all agreed that we wanted to keep Mike’s memory going strong, so it was an easy decision to officially make the swim a yearly event. We also agreed that we wanted to help the millions of others that are going through the same hardships that Michael endured. Through Mike’s struggle with his own traumatic brain injuries we became present to how few answers there are in brain trauma cases and how difficult and expensive the care for a loved one can be.
We all started something great for a friend in need. We invite you to help us keep it alive so that we may give back and help the many families who are affected by brain trauma.