The Enduring Waves Foundation is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) established in 2013 to assist in the fundraising attempts by Emily von Jentzen in her ultra marathon swims. Emily has found her place in open water swimming by using her love of swimming long distances to help children battling serious health issues.
Emily began her swimming career at the age of 9 years old as a USA Swimming member of the Lake Stevens Swim Club. Never the fastest swimmer, even at a young age Emily loved distance events. In high school Emily swam for Marysville Pilchuck High School. Emily later went on to swim collegiately at Central Washington University, a Division II school in Ellensburg, WA.
Emily moved to Missoula, Montana in 2006 to attend Law School. Emily joined the UM Triathlon Team in Law School and competed in Newton's 24 hours of Triathlon in the summer of 2008 (this event required continuous swimming, biking and running for 24 hours straight).
Emily's first open water ultra marathon event was in 2010. Emily became the first woman to swim the length of Flathead Lake (30 miles) in 18 hours, 26 minutes and in doing so raised $9,500 for Karmyn, a three year old battling Leukemia. See 50K for Karmyn.
In 2011, Emily became the first person to swim the length of Lake Chelan in Washington (50 miles) in 36 hours and in doing so raised $8,000 for Katelyn, a five year old battling Nueorblastoma. See A Lakke for Katelyn.
The Enduring Waves Foundation was formally established in 2013 to continue to promote fundraising through Emily's charity swims.
In 2013, Emily attempted a 70 mile swim in Canyon Ferry Lake in Helena, Montana. Weather and waves required the swim to end early. After 24 hours of swimming, Emily covered a distance of 34 miles. This swim raised $11,200 for 3 year old Carter. The funds raised for Carter covered the cost and training of his service dog, Minnie. See Carter's Cause: Four Paws.
In 2013, The Enduring Waves Foundation also began hosting a swim series. The Flathead Lake Swim Series began in 2014 and consists of 4 open water swim races over three days. 100% of the proceeds of the event go to the Enduring Waves Foundation and benefit the foundation's beneficiary for that year.
In 2014, Emily returned to Flathead Lake for a 24 hour swim. In 24 hours Emily covered a distance of 32 miles. This swim raised $11,000 for Isabella, a five year old battling Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. See Enduring Waves for Isabella.
In 2015, Emily swam the length of 30 lakes in Northwest Montana in 60 days covering over 90 miles of swimming. These swims raised $10,000 for 15 year old Lily and 6 year old Hayden. Lily required a bone marrow transplant for a rare blood disorder. The Enduring Waves Foundation assisted Lily's family with travel expenses for her treatment. Hayden has gross motor delays and is at this point non-communicative. The Enduring Waves Foundation helped the family purchase several assistive devices and paid for speech therapy. See 30:60:90.
In 2016, Emily took a year off from a solo charity swim, but the Enduring Waves Foundation did not take a break from fundraising. Through the Flathead Lake Swim Series and other donations, $4,000 was raised for Jaxen. See Jaxen.
In 2017, Emily recruited fellow swimmer John Cole to complete a double charity swim for two beneficiaries. Emily completed the first double crossing of Flathead Lake swimming 56 miles in 40 hours from Somers to Polson and back to Somers. John joined Emily on the return trip and swam from Polson to Somers becoming just the 6th person to complete a full length crossing of Flathead Lake. Over $12,000 was raised for Monte and Scottie Marie. See Monte & Scottie Marie.
In 2018 the Enduring Waves Foundation did not receive any application for beneficiaries and funds raised were used to support the continued needs of the 2017 beneficiaries. The Enduring Waves Foundation hosted the Flathead Lake Swim Series in 2018 but no solo charity swims took place.
In 2019 the Enduring Waves Foundation did not receive any applications for beneficiaries. Due to a number of factors a sabbatical from hosting the Flathead Lake Swim Series was necessary. Emily did not complete a solo swim in 2019 due to the arrival of her first child.
The Enduring Waves Foundation is gearing up for a fun and exciting year of fundraising in 2020.
If you are interested in getting involved with the Enduring Waves Foundation, contact a board member. The foundation is always looking for high energy volunteers to join our cause. Check out the upcoming events page for our upcoming/ongoing fundraisers. To read past articles on foundation events and/or Emily's swims, check out our "press" page.