In the fall of 2015, three girls from the Blust family in Middleton, WI became motivated to join IJM’s fight against modern-day slavery after the girls studied William Wilberforce’s 18th century abolition movement. Horrified to learn that the number of slaves held globally today far exceeds that of the Atlantic slave trade, the girls came up with the idea to hold a swim-a-thon (a fun alternative to a run) to get other local families involved, too.

Through the efforts of a great team of parents and friends, including students involved in UW’s Force 4 Freedom and the UW Swim Team, the first Freedom Swim took place on April 2, 2016 at the Middleton High School pool. The 62 participating swimmers, ages 6-18, along with other local groups such as Westside Christian School, raised an incredible $17,570 (way past the goal of $6300) to fund almost three IJM rescue operations! Many of the swimmers were not part of a swim team, and worked very hard to accomplish — and surpass — their lap goals and fundraising goals. Plus, they had a great time! Way to go, Freedom Swimmers!

For the 2017 Freedom Swim, we are setting the goal high. The number of slaves in the world today has reached a shocking 45.8 million (according to the 2016 Global Slavery Index). Could we possibly raise $45,000? This would symbolize our desire to help bring freedom to all of these oppressed people. $45,000 can provide funding for seven IJM rescue operations, freeing hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people.

Read more about IJM on our About IJM page.

Read more about the Freedom Swim event in Event Details.