North Ridgeville High School senior Mitchell Mathis, 17, has more on his agenda than prom, exams and high school graduation.

The ambitious and generous teen found a way to combine two of his

favorite activities – helping people and swimming – as he articipates in his fourth consecutive Swim for Diabetes fundraiser May 16.

The weekend-long Swim for Diabetes event, now in its 25th year, takes place at area pools across Northeast Ohio. Mathis, who is a lifeguard at North Olmsted Recreation Center, plans to swim more than 100 laps in Cleveland State University’s pool.

His goal is to raise $500 in donations for the Diabetes Association of Greater Cleveland. Over the last three years, Mitchell has raised more than $1,000 for the cause with the support of family and friends.

“I know a lot of people who do have diabetes, including my sister and people around my neighborhood,” Mathis said. “I love helping people in general and learned that I could raise money by swimming.”

He said what he likes most about swimming is the freedom he feels while cutting through the water.

“I am going to continue with Swim for Diabetes even after I graduate,” he said. “I plan on sticking to it until I can’t swim anymore.”

Mathis’ grandfather, Albert Schultz, was also involved with Swim for Diabetes. He was a major fundraiser and helped to design displays for the event back in the 1960s.

“My grandpa did inspire me,” Mitchell said. “When I found out what he did for Swim for Diabetes, it pushed me further, especially since the money raised stays in Cleveland and will help people in my neighborhood – and my sister.”

After Mitchell graduates in June, he plans to take classes at Lorain County Community College and to major in early childhood education.

“I want to be a teacher,” he explained. “I might want to go into special education.

“It all comes down to helping people and kids. That’s all I really want to do.”

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