RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — An open-water swim event across the James River in Richmond on Aug. 27 aims to raise more than $100,000 for cancer research, prevention and treatment.

For Jay Peluso, a Richmond event organizer and participant who brought Swim Across America to Richmond in 2018, the event has particular meaning because his sister Michele is being treated for cancer. Peluso almost did not organize the event this year because of the effect the pandemic had on his business and finances.

“We are back in full force with an Aug. 27 event date and a large team of volunteers,” Peluso said in a statement, adding,”Michele is undergoing her third round of treatment. There is hope.”

Swimming across the James River. Photo courtesy of Swim Across America Richmond / Flickr

On the day of the event, the venues open at 7:30 a.m. The swim takes place at 9910 Cherokee Road in Richmond, just west of the Chippenham Parkway.

Founded in 1987, Swim Across America is a national nonprofit organization that holds 24 open water swim events across the country, from Boston to under the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.

More than 60 scientific grants are funded each year by Swim Across America, according to the organization’s press materials. There are many dedicated Swim Across America Labs at major institutions, including Children`s Healthcare of Atlanta, John Hopkins Medicine Baltimore, Rush University Medical Center Chicago, Baylor Scott & White Charles A. Sammons Cancer Center at Dallas and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center New York according to the organization.

The Richmond event benefits Massey Cancer Center at Virginia Commonwealth University.

To register for the Richmond swim event and learn more, visit

Swimmers mark on their bodies who they are swimming in honor of. Photo courtesy of Swim Across America Richmond / Flickr