Teen swims around Mercer Island for charity


by JOE FRYER / KING 5 News


Posted on August 19, 2011 at 5:56 PM

Updated Friday, Aug 19 at 6:02 PM

MERCER ISLAND, Wash. -- For Gabe Tse, simply asking friends, relatives and strangers for money was not good enough.

To raise funds for the humanitarian organization World Vision, he decided to swim around Mercer Island.

"I didn't just want to ask for donations empty-handed," he said.  "I wanted to show that I cared."

Tse took off from the Mercer Island Yacht Club early Friday morning and swam nearly 15 miles around the island.  He safely returned to the yacht club nearly seven hours after his journey began.

His efforts have helped raise about $10,000 for a secondary school in Kenya that educates girls who would otherwise be subject to female castration and early marriage.

"When I heard about how these girls were being mutilated and forced into these early marriages, it just hit me because they're so far away, but they're younger than I am," Tse said.

Jonas Carlson, the Puget Sound director for World Vision, which helps operate the school, called Gabe an inspiration for the kids in Kenya.

"Now they have a hope for the future and they sky's the limit for these kids," Carlson said.

This is Tse's second fund-raising journey around Mercer Island.  He made the same swim last year.

For more information on World Vision, you can visit their website at www.worldvision.org.