The Physically Challenged Athletes Scholarship Fund marked its 30th anniversary on March 7 by announcing that it has surpassed the $10 million mark in donations.
A “First Lap” celebration was held at the USC Annenberg Community Beach House in Santa Monica.
Guests included Mike Nyeholt, co-founder of the scholarship fund and namesake of the annual Swim With Mike fundraiser; USC football fan Jake Olson; and USC football players Matt Barkley and Kristofer O’Dowd.
Olson, 12, who lost his eyesight to cancer, swam the “First Lap” kicking off the next 30 years of the fund with O’Dowd, his favorite player, and sophomore quarterback Barkley.
Olson was 8 months old when diagnosed with cancerous tumors in both eyes. Doctors were able to save the right eye through chemotherapy and radiation, but it had to be removed last year, leaving him permanently blind.
Swim With Mike, which provides scholarships to students who have overcome life-challenging accidents or disease, allows students to pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees at USC and other college campuses.
This year’s event will be held at McDonald’s Swim Stadium on April 17 and in Hawaii on April 24.