Penguins Unite to Fight Hydrocephalus

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Swim for HydrocephalusBy Madina Smagulova

This Thursday, July 9, 2015, nearly 80 Penguins on the Little Falls Swim and Dive Team will swim for the Hydrocephalus Association’s (HA) Kate Finlayson Memorial Research Grant to raise awareness for hydrocephalus. The grant was established by the parents of Kate Finalyson, a former team member, who passed away at the age of 26 due to complications from hydrocephalus. Kate underwent more than 130 surgeries in an ongoing struggle to manage her hydrocephalus, and then coped with the many complications that resulted from these surgeries.

Kate’s cheerful attitude and dedication to swimming inspired many others on the Little Falls swim team. What started as physical therapy became a passion. Kate didn’t let hydrocephalus prevent her from excelling in the sport, setting records that are, to this day, unbeaten. When the Little Falls Swim and Dive Team learned about Kate’s passing in 2010, team members wanted to become part of the effort to find better treatment options for the condition.

The team members will honor Kate’s memory by raising awareness about Hydrocephalus and swimming for individuals with the condition. Each Penguin will read a biographical story about an individual with hydrocephalus and swim with a wristband in that person’s honor. This establishes a deep, personal connection between the swimmers and people with hydrocephalus, as well as their families.

To support the swim team in its effort to raise money, raise awareness of hydrocephalus, and honor Kate, people can come watch the Swimathon at the Little Falls Swimming Club at 5001 Little Falls Drive in Bethesda, on July 9th. Donating to the cause is easy, even if one doesn’t sponsor an individual swimmer. To donate to the Little Falls Swimathon for Team Hydro, visit and click the “Give Now” button. Print the confirmation page from the Hydrocephalus Association, which notes that you have contributed to the Little Falls event. No amount is too small and all donations as well as poolside cheerers are welcome.

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