Though competitive, Gandy started this challenge to raise awareness and funds for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. In 1992, at age 27, his wife, Donna, was diagnosed with Leukemia. With a two-year-old daughter at home, Donna chose to have a bone marrow transplant and has enjoyed seeing her daughter grow up.
"It is a terrific story and is something that has deeply touched us all. Our daughter has been inspired to go into medicine, and so, for me crossing the channel was just another way to give back and raise awareness."
Gandy said he's always loved swimming and used to swim competitively in high school and college.
"I took an 18-year break to start a family, work, and I was na?ve to think my swimming days were over," said Gandy, who always remained active playing a variety of other sports. "We moved by a lake and a friend got me goggles and that is how I started swimming again."
The vice chairman, whose credit union is based in East Harford, Conn., said his competitive nature drove him to find more challenges, and after completing long-distance swims across Lake Champlain, Long Island Sound, Tampa Bay and Lake George, it became his dream to swim the English Channel.
"Swimming the English Channel is like the Mecca of swimming where you are challenged physically and mentally," said Gandy. "When you see how supportive the credit union and the community have been, honestly, the journey itself has become the reward."
Gandy swam 21 miles from Dover England to Cap Griz Nez, France, in 13 hours and 34 minutes. The 48-year old endured a grueling physical and mental test against fatigue, hunger, jellyfish, tides, ship traffic and water temperatures of 64 degrees.
His swim raised $5,585 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. and Gandy is already contemplating his next challenge-this time a roundtrip swim across the channel.