Updated 05/06/2012 05:50 PM
Swim for Smiles triathlon raises thousands of dollars for NC Children's Hospital
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CHAPEL HILL--More than 500 children were in Chapel Hill Sunday to participate in the sixth annual Swim for Smiles triathaon.
The event is one of the largest children's triathlons in the country, dedicated to raising money for the North Carolina Children's Hospital. Every year the triathlon gets larger. One-hundred percent of the proceeds goes directly to the North Carolina Children's Hospital.
“It makes me feel really good to help kids in the hospital,” said participoant Josef Kiesenhofer.
Organizers say last year's event was the biggest youth triathlon in the country and the competition is fierce. Three of last year's winners received medals at youth triathlon nationals.
Those with the event say it is a fun way to raise money and awareness for the hospital to benefit kids who need it the most. The foundation started as a local swim meet has transformed into a triathlon, but the focus remained the same. It's a mission centered around kids helping kids.
“Hopefully [these kids] will never have to use the hospital, but if they use the hospital they'll have an understanding of where the money comes from and how important it is,” said co-founder, Gary Kayye.
Swim for Smiles has raised more than $200,000 for North Carolina Children's Hospital to date. They will hold another triathlon in Greensboro this fall.