In 2012, the mother-son team of Ellie and Thomas Gathright was inspired by the book Take Your Best Shot in which the founder of Hoops of Hope (www.hoopsofhope.org), Austin Gutwein, challenges readers to ‘do something bigger than yourself’. They decided to make a difference doing something they both love…swimming. Their answer to Gutwein’s challenge was to create Laps for Love, an organization that provides assistance to needy individuals in the local community where they live (the greater Charlottesville area of Virginia) and throughout the world.
Later that year, Ellie and Thomas’ vision came to life in the form of a marathon of sorts, one centered on swimming. They set a goal to raise $100-$150 to benefit two of Thomas’ friends from a school he previously attended. They explained their vision to friends and family, many of whom supported them with pledges for the laps Thomas would swim. Finally, Thomas set himself to the task of swimming.