Todd Jackson has been teaching swimming at various locations for the past thirty years and has always been on strong influence on his students. However, on February 9, the 50-year-old was diagnosed with throat cancer. It all started when he gradually began to lose his voice. After his visit to the doctor, three days later it was determined that he suffered from laryngeal cancer, a disease that usually affects heavy smokers when they are over 55. The strange part of it all is that Todd, who is a health nut, never smoked.

Although his students continue to go for practice without his presence, they admitted that it has not been the same since. “It’s too quiet. I miss hearing and seeing Todd. He’s usually the first person up here and the first in the pool,” stated Scott Pollard, a student from the Masters swim team.

According to his wife, Sonya, he doesn’t have any health insurance. If that was already bad enough, the medical bills after throat surgery, chemotherapy and radiation treatments are just stacking up. After going through all the medical bills on the kitchen table, she stopped adding up the figures when it hit $12,000. This amount is still not inclusive of the nearly $1,000-a-day chemotherapy treatments. This financial burden was something Sonya said they would get through. “It’s going to be hard, but we are going to get through this,” she said.

Swimming has always been a big part of Todd’s life. When he isn’t working alongside the Masters swim team, he would be either teaching water aerobics or teaching young people about water safety. Aside from that, he has assist in making good swimmers perform even better. Now, all his students would like to help in giving back to the man they love. Since his diagnosis, the Masters swim team have dropped off gift baskets at his home, shoveled his snow as well as showered him with phone calls and well wishes. More importantly, they intend to hold a swim-athon in April to aid with his expenses. “Not only has he made me a stronger swimmer, he is the best person you could ever want to meet. There has never been a time when I did not see a smile on his face. I guess that’s why everybody was in shock when we heard the news,” added Masters swimmer Josh Jadolon, who plans to swim 3,000 yards in an hour to support his coach. Check out the full story here.

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