Beating Dementia: July Private Swim to Escape Alcatraz & Benefit the Carolyn L. Farrell Foundation

Alcatraz Swim Beating Dementia

Both the mind and body benefit from swimming. Reverend Katie Norris and her family are organizing a private Alcatraz swim to raise awareness and money to fight dementia.

“People always tell us that people with dementia live in a prison and can never have a good life, but the research just does not show this to be true,” says Rev. Norris. “If we know how to care for people with dementia, and accessible exercise and community are a huge part of that, then people can live well with dementia.”

In addition to offering ministry to people who have dementia, Rev. Norris is also a health and fitness coach, and was caring for her mother that led her to be a coach. Rev. Norris says, “The first intervention we used when caring for my mom who had Lewy Body Dementia (dementia with Parkinson's) was an Endless Pool.” Her mom and friends, who named themselves “The Mermaids,” exercised each day at their pool to get exercise.

Explained on

“Dr. Charlie Farrell, 82-years-old, is swimming from Alcatraz to San Francisco in July of 2019. As an advocate for people with dementia, in the Alcatraz swim, swimming away from the prison, Dr. Charlie wants to share the message that dementia does not have to be a prison and you can live well with dementia.”

The goal of the swim is to raise $25,000, which will support the Carolyn L. Farrell Foundation. The foundation runs programs for people with their dementia and their care partners. Explained on their website, the organization helps “people live well with dementia through providing engaging activities, information about environmental modifications, and a supportive community.”

Swim from Alcatraz Farrell Foundation

The swim will take place on July 24th or 25th depending on the weather. Rev. Norris’ father (Dr. Charlie, 82-years-old) and a few family members will participate in the 2-mile swim from Alcatraz Island to San Francisco. The private swim will include a pre-swim briefing, Odyssey swim caps and stickers, and a support crew, which includes a Coast Guard Certified Captain and an experienced and trained Odyssey guide who will follow along in a kayak or on a paddleboard.

Read more about this swim and contribute to their efforts on the Carolyn L. Farrell Foundation website here. Want to organize your own private swim with Odyssey Open Water Swimming? Learn more here.