Who is Ika Kovacikova, and why does she want to swim the English Channel?

Note from the Editor of this blog:

Ika Kovacikova, wrote to UVAC a couple days ago about her upcoming swim of the English Channel. Her last fundraising push is coming up, and she was hoping that we here at UVAC could spread the news!

Ika, is pretty well set in her fundraising goal for the overall swim, but she is still raising more money. Why you ask? Well, last summer she worked for the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and is looking to donate any additional proceeds she makes to them.

We here at UVAC are so very proud of Ika for making not only her dreams come true, but giving aid to those who really need it. It is a great reminder that one is able to make it through anything, and still liftothers up along the way.

So look out for Ika during her swim of the English Channel in August (2013), she will be the one in the UVAC cap (oh yeah)!  YOU GO GIRL!
-Heather Graham-
Uvac Staff

P.S. Read more about Ika below, and visit her fundraising website and blog (links below)!

My name is Ika Kovacikova and I have been swimming with UVAC since the day the doors opened, and many years before that on NCAC. I am now a rising senior at Wellesley College in Wellesley, MA.

I was first inspired to swim the English Channel when I read the book “Swimming Across Antarctica” by Lynn Cox, and that was about when I was 10 years old. I thought she was truly incredible. I have been swimming since the age of six, but I never thought I was capable of “marathon swimming” even though I have always loved to swim. In 2012 I heard about how Mackenzie Bradley (’13) and Emma Reim (’13) of Smith College swam the English Channel and all of the sudden it seemed like a real possibility. I spoke with them about it and they definitely encouraged me to go for it, so I found a boat pilot through The Channel Swimming Association, and that was definitely the start of a big adventure!

I will be donating any extra funds I raise to the Center for Injury Research and Prevention in Philadelphia. During the summer of 2012 I was an REU intern at the Center for Injury Research and Prevention (CIRP) at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), which is supported by the National Science Foundation. I conducted research for the youth Violence Intervention Program (VIP) at the hospital.

The CHOP Violence Intervention Program (VIP) promotes a “trauma-informed” approach to helping patients who have been victims of nonfatal gunshot wounds, stabbings, or other physical assault injuries and admitted to CHOP’s emergency department or Trauma Unit. A trauma-informed approachconsiders how someone’s past experience affects his or her success in their clinical treatment. Since victims of interpersonal violence are 88 times more likely to retaliate or become re-injured after trauma, the overall program goal is to break the pattern of violence. The VIP provides ongoing social and emotional support for youth who were seen at CHOP, and evaluates how this trauma-informed approach promotes positive relationships between patients, health care and social services, and connects them with beneficial community-focused programs in their neighborhoods. I really learned a lot from my experience as part of the research team at CIRP. Swimming the English Channel in August of 2013 would be my way of giving back to the center, and would support efforts to prevent violence.

This summer, I am working in Chicago at Rush University Medical Center as a Health Disparities Research Fellow for Dr. David Ansell MD, MPH, author of County: Life, Death and Politics at Chicago’s Public Hospital. I am helping Dr. Ansell with his second book about health disparities and health inequalities in urban centers. I definitely feel like my research this summer ties in with my work last summer, as we try to illuminate the reasons why some neighborhoods experience startlingly higher rates of cancer, diabetes, and violence (just a few examples) than others, which is true in Philadelphia as well as in Chicago, among many other large American cities.

Have a great day!
Ika Kovacikova
Wellesley College ’14

Ika’s Fundraising Website

Ika’s Blog

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