NewsPositively Hampton Roads


Virginia Beach man swims the Chesapeake Bay on Monday to help special needs community

Posted at 5:12 AM, Aug 16, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-09 12:20:34-04

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - A Virginia Beach man is taking action to help people with special needs cross the finish line.

Robert Cass has spent months preparing for one of the biggest swimming challenges of his life.

He said it’s all about inclusion.

Track Cass's journey here starting Monday at 7 a.m.

Cass is trying to raise awareness and $50,000 for an organization called Ainsley’s Angels.

What the non-profit does is give special needs people the chance to compete in endurance events.

“Ainsley’s Angels is an organization that provides three things: We advocate, we educate and we celebrate inclusion. That means special needs kids need to be included in all activities, It’s a part of life right? So we get out there and we help them become a part of it in race chairs, letting them participate in races, long distance events,” Cass explained to News 3 Reporter Brian Hill.

Cass is hoping to raise enough money to buy special-needs race chairs to make sure kids can take part in these competitions.

As an Angel Runner, his goal is to see them to the finish line.

“What motivates me when I’m out on the water is the parents who have these kids and the founder of this company who lost his daughter. The things they’ve gone through show way more strength, way more resilience, way more endurance than I’ll ever have on a one-day swim. The parents of these kids don’t have people cheering their name at the end of the day.”

The big swim was initially planned for September 5, but Hurricane Dorian pushed it to Monday.

“I’m going to have a team captain and ex-Navy guy piloting a boat that will lead me across the bay. Medic on scene and someone providing protein, other nutrition every 30 minutes," he said.

If you would like to help Cass's effort, click here.