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Hall forges 51 miles into the Willamette still feeling good

Dean Hall is back in the water Monday in Corvallis after a day of rest


by: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO: STEPHEN CRIDLAND - Hall swam out of Eugene on June 2. Today he is on week two, day eight of his journey down river.Swimmer and Gresham double cancer patient Dean Hall is on day eight, week two of his attempt to swim the entire length of the Willamette River. As of Saturday, he had covered 51 miles.

After a much-needed day of rest back home in Gresham on Sunday, Hall got back in the water Monday, June 9, at Crystal Lake Park in Corvallis.

The 54-year-old diagnosed with both leukemia and lymphoma wrote on his Facebook blog that he is feeling good and ready to get back in the river.

“I am so thankful to all of you for your continued and constant prayers and support! Let’s do this!” Hall said.

Updating his journey on his nights off, Hall traversed some of most dangerous sections of the Willamette River out of Eugene, where the waters were cold, shallow and covered in rocky gravel beds.

by: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO: STEPHEN CRIDLAND - Dean Hall, a Gresham therapist and double-cancer patient, is 51 miles into being the first person in history to swim the Willamette River, 184 miles from Eugene to the confluence of the Columbia River in North Portland.Hall said he took two hard shots to the tail bone and acquired goose eggs on his knee and left hip, but if it weren’t for his wetsuit he’d be in much worse shape.

His attitude remains unshakable. “It’s been going beautifully. Even better than I would have thought,” Hall told The Outlook last Wednesday night after his third day’s swim.”

The licensed Gresham therapist is swimming 184 miles of the Willamette River to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Hall is asking supporters to donate for every mile he swims, and the money will go to research or the aid of those suffering with a blood cancer.

His goal is to swim the river in 18 days, and prove that cancer patients like himself don’t have to give up on their dreams and ambition.

Hall’s 79-year-old father, diagnosed with the same form of leukemia as his son, has taken up the logistics of the trip. Dick Hall is one of the kayakers helping to guide Dean on his route downriver.

Hall said his dad is having the time of his life, often having to kayak through white water rapids and the river’s sharp twists and turns. “I’ve never done anything quite this crazy,” he told his son.

Last Thursday, Hall swam 10 miles out of Harrisburg, where the water was “fat and deep and healthy.”

“It was long and took a lot out of me, but I smiled the whole way... The sky was a brilliant blue, and it made the water I swam in blue,” Hall wrote on his blog, Swimming in Miracles.

On Friday, he swam 9.5 miles toward Monroe. He wrote it was one of those rare days where the weather was perfect and the swim felt effortless.

In the water around 9 a.m., Hall said he tends to get out in the afternoon around 2 p.m. and takes a couple breaks as he needs to stay warm and fed.

“If I drink hot tea when I stop, it really warms me up,” Hall said.

On Saturday, day six, Hall said the water was colder than it had been the past few days, but he made it to Corvallis.

“Our first week done. All participants alive and kicking!” Hall wrote on his blog.

Saturday was the last day Hall would swim with Eugene river guides Al Grappel and Lou English, who have formed a close friendship with the swimmer.

Hall aims to swim three or four days until he reaches Salem.

Follow him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Swimming-In-Miracles/

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To donate to his cause, go to: http://www.mwoy.org/pages/oswim/oswim14/swiminmiracles

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