Swimmer to cross Lake Ontario raising funds for mental health, Alzheimer’s | Globalnews.ca


A Paris, Ont., man set to swim across Lake Ontario admits he’ll likely have some drama this weekend considering how exhausting a similar venture was a decade ago.

“On the last one, (I) threw up for 30 minutes, fell asleep, woke up underwater a few times, just sheer exhaustion,” Jason Kloss recalls from a 65-kilometre swim across Lake Huron.

“My shoulder popped out of place…. It was not a fun swim, through the night specifically.”

The 36-year-old will take on the 51-kilometre swim between Niagara Region and Toronto starting Friday, raising funds and awareness for mental health and suicide prevention.

Kloss began training for the stint in June of last year following time off to cope with a “mentally exhausting” pandemic and circumstances leading to the deaths of two people close to him in recent times.

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“I started swimming again just for my own mental health after losing my grandpa to dementia and Alzheimer’s, and then a friend that ultimately died by suicide,” Kloss said.

“(I) wanted to do more and thought, I can swim, so let’s do another swim and raise some awareness.”

He was just 24 when he swam across Lake Huron in late August of 2011 entering the water at Port Sanilac, Mich., on a Friday morning and reaching the shore of Grand Bend, Ont., on Saturday afternoon.

Back then he raised some $22,000 for the Canadian Cancer Society.

It’s a journey his grandfather did 20 years prior at the age of 50.

“So it kind of runs in the in the family,” Kloss said.

“After the last swim, I said I’d never do it again until about a year ago.”

His financial goal for this year’s swim is much loftier: $50,000 for the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH).

As of Tuesday morning, donations had reached 80 per cent of that goal, just over $41,000.

The start and end time of his crossing from Queens Royal Park at Niagara-on-the-Lake to Marilyn Bell Park in Toronto has yet to be determined.

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It’s expected the crew and boats will converge around 11 a.m. and make a decision about takeoff time based on weather.

Kloss believes he’s more prepared for this journey than the unexplored territory he faced during his swim a decade ago.

“I’ve certainly been training harder, but I will say the body feels the workouts a little bit more this time around,” he said.

“I think mentally I’m more mature and physically I’ve been preparing harder.”

Contributions to the fundraiser can be made through the CAMH foundation’s website.

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