Teen raises $115K during Lake Ontario swim

As metre-high waves crashed down upon 14-year-old Annaleise Carr in the chilly waters of Lake Ontario in the middle of the night, the money she was raising to send kids with cancer to camp kept her going.

PORT DOVER, Ont. — As metre-high waves crashed down upon 14-year-old Annaleise Carr in the chilly waters of Lake Ontario in the middle of the night, the money she was raising to send kids with cancer to camp kept her going.

The Ontario teenager, believed to be the youngest person ever to swim across the lake, raised $115,000 with her marathon swim from Niagara-on-the-Lake to Toronto for Camp Trillium.

Carr said she was overwhelmed with the response from the public, and kept her fundraising goal in mind as she received constant updates from her crew during her 27-hour swim.

“It’s just crazy,” she said. “I didn’t expect to get much higher than $30,000.”

Less than 20 hours after she emerged from the water, Carr stood before a bank of television cameras to talk about her feat.

“As I got into the water on Saturday I just kept thinking about Camp Trillium and what I was doing it for,” she said.

“I didn’t want to give up when I thought about how much the kids at Camp Trillium have been through and what they have to go through their entire lives.”

Through the night the waves increased and the swim got tougher and tougher, Carr said. When the morning light broke a pacer helped lift her spirits by making funny faces, she said.

“Then I started getting updates on how much money I’d raised and it was going up like crazy,” Carr said.

“I got told $50,000 and I was already over my goal and I started swimming harder. I got told $60,000 and I didn’t want to stop.”

The tally kept climbing and Carr said she knew she couldn’t stop.

“When I was about a kilometre away I could hear everyone and start seeing lights. At that time the current was really, really bad and it felt like I was going nowhere,” she said.

“That’s when I heard that I had gotten over $100,000. I was like really excited.”

Donations for Carr’s marathon swim will send 115 children to camp for 10 days.

“I was happy to get out of the water, I have to admit, and I was just thinking about all the money I had raised,” she said. “And I was thinking about my family.”

Carr, who is from the tiny community of Walsh in southern Ontario, said it took a while to convince her parents to let her attempt the 52-kilometre swim.

She credits her family and her crew in the water for helping her through the marathon swim, which was the equivalent of about 1,040 Olympic-sized swimming pool lengths.

“They all said before that I could do it and they had no doubts,” she said. “Yesterday I was sore, more sore than today, but it’s not bad at all today. I can feel that it hurts but it’s not like I cant move or anything. I’m tired but other than that I’m okay.”

Carr wanted to help kids at Camp Trillium in person, but volunteers had to be 18 years old. The idea to swim across Lake Ontario started as a joke, but her parents got behind it once they saw how many rules and regulations were attached, she said.

After the glare of television cameras was gone, supporters told Carr she was their hero and many said they had driven across the province to hear her speak.

“I never really expected anyone to call me their hero, so it’s really nice to hear people say that,” she said. “But I don’t know if I consider myself a hero.”

The humble teenager plans on being back in the water next week, when she will raise more money for Camp Trillium by swimming 10 kilometres across Lake Erie.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Alberta vaccine rollout expanding to front-line health-care workers

More than 240,000 eligible health-care workers can begin booking vaccine appointments starting… Continue reading

File photo
The Red Deer Rebels will have three new assistant coaches when the WHL regular season starts on Friday. Brad Flynn (left), will be on the bench alongside fellow assistant Ryan Colville (right) head coach Brent Sutter (middle). (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Sutter steps down as Red Deer Rebels head coach

Red Deer Rebels Owner, GM and head coach Brent Sutter has stepped… Continue reading

Premier Jason Kenney announced $200 million more money that will benefit seniors living in continuing care on Wednesday. (photography by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Alberta’s in-school rapid screening test program expanding

Alberta’s in-school rapid screening test program will expand to as many as… Continue reading

Parents and students learned Tuesday what the coming school year will look like. It's pretty much back to business as usual, said Education Minister Adriana LaGrange. School precautions include frequent cleaning, keeping students in the same groups where possible, planning the school day to allow for physical distancing and staying home when sick. (photography by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Alberta’s largest school board says no to United Conservative draft school curriculum

CALGARY — Alberta’s largest school board says it will not use the… Continue reading

Red Deer-South MLA Jason Stephan is among those who have signed an open letter criticizing the government’s return to stricter health measures. (Advocate file photo).
Updated: Kenney tells UCP caucus COVID-19 dissent OK, breaking health rules means expulsion

15 MLAs released letter on Wednesday critical of new health restrictions

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau watches a speaker appear by videoconference during a news conference in Ottawa, Friday, April 9, 2021. Grassroots Liberals have overwhelmingly endorsed a resolution calling on the federal government to develop and implement a universal basic income — despite Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's apparent lack of enthusiasm for the idea. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau winds up Liberal convention with election campaign-style speech

OTTAWA — Justin Trudeau wound up a three-day Liberal convention Saturday with… Continue reading

Team Canada skip Brendan Bottcher makes a shot against Italy at the Men's World Curling Championships in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, April 6, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Men’s world curling championship in Calgary in COVID limbo

CALGARY — The men’s world curling championship in Calgary remained suspended Saturday… Continue reading

Pipes intended for construction of the Keystone XL pipeline are shown in Gascoyne, N.D. on Wednesday April 22, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Alex Panetta
Non-profit Quebec law centre to aid environmental group targeted by Alberta oil firm

QUEBEC — The Quebec Environmental Law Centre is coming to the aid… Continue reading

Conservative leader Erin O'Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, April 6, 2020. Top Tory leaders of past and present will speak with supporters today about what a conservative economic recovery from COVID-19 could look like. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Conservatives cite empathy, relationships as ways to help expand their movement

OTTAWA — Conservatives should show empathy with Black residents who say they’ve… Continue reading

NDP Leader John Horgan celebrates his election win in the British Columbia provincial election in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. New Democrats are reconvening for the second day of a three-day policy convention as they look to push past the glitches of the virtual event's opening sessions and rally around keynote speaker John Horgan. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
New Democrats reconvene as hiccups, frustrations plague national policy convention

OTTAWA — New Democrats reconvened Saturday for the second day of a… Continue reading

FILE - In this Monday, Oct. 23, 2017 file photo, President Donald Trump speaks during a joint statement with Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington. Former President Donald Trump plans to affirm his commitment to the Republican Party — and raise the possibility that someone else will be the GOP's next presidential nominee — in a closed-door speech to donors Saturday night, April 10, 2021. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)
Trump in 2024? He says only that ‘a Republican’ will win

PALM BEACH, Fla. — Former President Donald Trump plans to affirm his… Continue reading

Owner of 4 Point Taekwondo Kevin Mejia holds a board as organizer and martial artist Kevin Olsen breaks it in Edmonton on Friday, April 9, 2021. One hundred martial artists from around the world, will be breaking a board for an event called "Break for a Breakthrough." The idea is for martial artists to unite and re-engage with the arts because they may have drifted away or lost enthusiasm as a result of the pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Break for a Breakthrough: Canadian hosts international martial arts demonstration

EDMONTON — Whether he’s breaking a wooden board, a clay tile, cement… Continue reading

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, Duke of Ediburgh, left, look on as Manitoba Beaver peaks out of his box at a July 14, 1970 ceremony in which Hudson's Bay Company observed an old tradition. The death of Prince Philip has reminded a small French village in Manitoban about how a royal visit half a century ago made the community the centre of frog racing in Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS
Prince Philip’s frog-jumping legacy in a Manitoba French community

WINNIPEG — The death of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, has reminded… Continue reading

Most Read