Monday, May 20, 2024

Local firefighter braves feat of daring endurance for charity


CHELAN – Wenatchee firefighter Capt. Brandon Kunz completed his solo swim of the length of Lake Chelan on Sept. 19th at 5:46 p.m. Essentially putting in four days worth of double marathons, he made the swim in non-consecutive segments totalling 50.74 miles in 39 hours, 19 minutes, and 11 seconds.

This was a swim not made solely for the challenge, or to receive any acclaim—Brandon’s was a fundraising effort to benefit Seattle Children’s Hospital’s Greatest Need Fund in memory of his friends’ infant daughter Baby Jacqueline Grace Parker. Baby Jacqueline suffered from a heart issue, and passed away shortly after birth.

Brandon wanted to be able to aid families in benefitting from the care offered at Seattle Children’s Hospital, and, so, was inspired to start a fundraiser and embark on a journey that few have ever attempted. As of Friday, Oct. 6, $19,410 has been raised towards this effort, with more donations coming in daily.

Brandon’s swim began early morning of Friday, Sept. 15, after two nights of receiving very poor sleep. Wednesday night he’d been up all night for work, and did not sleep well on Thursday night in anticipation of the feat he was about to undergo. Nevertheless, and in spite of a temperature drop, he swam approximately 15.04 miles that day. Unfortunately, by evening, he was experiencing symptoms of hypothermia and spent the night wide awake, watching the stars from a dock where he struggled to stop shaking.

After receiving assistance in the form of extra heat packs and blankets from his support team on Friday evening, Saturday, it was determined, would need to be a day of rest and recuperation. His team would retrieve a thicker wet-suit for him, and he would actually be able to rest some that day. Sunday saw a renewed energy and peace for Brandon, and he was able to complete 11.37 miles before meeting supportive community members at Riverwalk Park in celebration.

Due to having taken a day for rest, however, he had portions of the lake yet to swim he was determined to complete. He accomplished his goal, first swimming 10.2 miles on Monday, Sept. 18, then finishing out the last 14.31 miles on Tuesday Sept. 19.

Brandon’s swim has already raised awareness and support for many families in need, and his efforts and accomplishments continue to bring light to the change that community support can bring. Donations are still being accepted for this fundraiser titled ‘Solo Lake Chelan Swim for Children’ at .   

Katie Lindert: 509-731-3211 or



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