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Alcatraz swim by San Francisco group raises funds for cancer survivors

Cancer survivor helping raise money for cancer awareness by swimming to Alcatraz
Cancer survivor helping raise money for cancer awareness by swimming to Alcatraz 02:36

Every name written on Braulio Fonseca's body carries a sacred story. They are the names of loved ones, known and unknown, who have battled cancer. 

Fonseca himself is a two-time cancer survivor and an avid swimmer.

Joining the San Francisco open-water swimming organization Water World Swim, he decided to stage a swim from Alcatraz as a fundraiser for cancer survivors and a way to build awareness for those fighting the disease.

Ever since he beat cancer, Fonseca says he hasn't taken one moment for granted.

"As soon as I got out of the hospital bed, I got in the water," Fonseca explained.

Taking on the Bay Area waters is no easy feat. The tide can be tumultuous and the water temperature quite chilly. 

But Fonseca says it is that very difficulty that inspires him to take on such challenges. 

"Alcatraz is definitely not the easiest swim," he said. "So for me, it was just like, what can I do to challenge myself? Throughout training for this as well, to just show my respect for people who are suffering"

And a big splash of respect was shown and continues to be shown as Fonseca dedicates his  energy towards helping cancer fighters with their medical bills. 

As the Water World team awaited the arrival of swimmers from Alcatraz, he said this was one of his toughest swims. 

But he and his friend Hannah, who also swam and supported the cause, completed their swim, lifting their banner with pride after reaching the shore.

"It's just nothing compared to what people go through when they fight cancer," said Hannah. 

It is their ultimate motivation.

"That's the whole point," said Fonseca. "All I think about is those people."

As they head back to shore., Fonseca reflects on the power of faith -- both mental and physical -- when fighting cancer or any disease. 

"I think fighting is the epitome of faith," he said. "Because if you're not fighting, you're not actually believing that there is an answer at the end of this thing. So as long as your fighting, I think it shows that you do have faith."

The kind of faith that keeps Fonseca swimming against the tide.

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