Lake Oswego hosts charity swim for beloved alum with ALS

Published: Feb. 3, 2023 at 10:53 PM PST
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LAKE OSWEGO Ore. (KPTV) - Swimming for a good cause at Lake Oswego High Friday night as the Lakers’ swim and football teams came together to raise money for a legendary alum who serves as an inspiration to so many.

The Lake Oswego High School swim team hosted its annual swim-a-thon under the Friday Night Lights at the Lake Oswego school district pool. Coach Jeff Young has been battling ALS for 39 years -- he’s a proud alum from the Lake Oswego class of 1980, as is swim squad assistant coach, Carolyn Hyink.

“They do it every year, but I suggested to coach [Geoff] Marsden that, ‘Hey, can we make Jeff the beneficiary of this swim-a-thon?” Hyink said.

Each swimmer’s goal was to push at least 48 lengths of the pool in 30 minutes to raise funds for coach Jeff with dry encouragement from the laker football team.

“It’s very special to have him around as a coach and inspire us to keep going every single day,” said sophomore Thatcher O’Leary.

Even 1988 Olympic gold medalist Dan Jorgensen stopped by to deliver words of encouragement.

SEE ALSO: Longtime Century HS basketball coach celebrates 400 wins while battling stage 4 cancer

Four decades of living with high-level expenses without an income has taken a toll -- 24/7, 365 days a year caregivers are needed and Jeff’s 23-year-old wheelchair-accessible van could use some work too.

“I just cannot imagine living with what he’s had to live with and it’s so wonderful that is he giving back to the community of football players and so it’s really kind of fun for us to make this connection between two sports that don’t normally be together,” Hyink says.

A grassroots effort to support Jeff is now called “Young with Heart” to support the man who is in the one-percent category of those living with Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

“It’s very humbling. I feel very supported,” said Coach Jeff. “I have a lot of friends that go way back and I am so grateful for all of the people who have never forgotten about me and I mean that from the bottom of my heart, man.”