Why The Walton S&D Team Races To Find A Cure...


        Margaret Soulen Gilbert                                                      Grace Bunke

  Margaret's story, click HERE!                                             Grace's story, click HERE!

The Walton Swim & Dive team, and our community, have been affected by this horrible disease called cancer…our team is not immune to it and its affects…no one is  and so we race to find a cure!

In 2009, Coach Sharon Loughran, initiated the Annual Margaret Gilbert Memorial Invite Meet to honor and to raise cancer awareness in memory of her friend and college teammate, Margaret Soulen Gilbert, who passed away after fighting breast cancer for two years.  Margaret loved swimming and was an accomplished collegiate athlete.  2001 Margaret was inducted into the Virginia Tech Sports Hall of Fame.  Margaret will continue to be remembered.

Our team, and for those associated with our team, we have been truly blessed and inspired by a beautiful young lady by the name of Grace Bunke. Grace was not just a teammate...she was our friend.

In 2014, Grace was diagnosed with metastatic osteosarcoma (which is bone cancer).  The cancer was found in her left femur and in both of her lungs. She underwent 18 rounds of in-patient chemotherapy, a partial and unique leg amputation called rotationplasty, and 2 lung surgeries.  During all of this, as Grace put it, “swimming found” her and cancer did not stopped Grace’s passion for swimming.  She not only loved to swim but she was an accomplished swimmer!  She set personal goals for herself and worked hard to attain them.

Grace inspired her swim and dive teammates, parents, coaches and many many others, by her faith, strength, courage, positivity and her fighting spirit to not give up.  Grace embodied the spirit of no matter how tough or painful life put itself in front of her; she continued to have a strong faith and a positive attitude…she always looked for what is good and for what she CAN do!

The Walton Swim & Dive Team continues to support those who know the struggle of having cancer and especially those who have had a direct impact on our team.  We race to find a cure!