Diana Nyad was a twenty-something living in New York City when she set her sights on a near superhuman goal: swimming one hundred miles. With nautical charts sprawled out on the floor of her Upper West Side apartment Nyad said that Cuba "just leaking into my heart and imagination.
Over thirty years and four failed attempts later, Nyad reached the shores of Florida after a 110- mile journey that lasted 53 grueling hours.
"I feel this deep, deep satisfaction of having stuck with it," said Nyad, "It wasn't easy, there were so many rock bottom moments but I never once wavered in the vision of that, I just believed."
Nyad faced shark-infested water, jellyfish stings and beatings by saltwater waves and stormy weather but never lost sight of the other shore.
"You see people who have been in a life and death challenge, everyone faces disappointment and if something really means something to us - you will find a way," said Nyad
It has only been only a few weeks since Nyad triumphantly arrived on the shore of Key West but she is ready to get back in the water, this time for a cause. On October 8 she will be raising money for Superstorm Sandy survivors by swimming 48 hours nonstop in a pool to be erected in New York's Herald Square. Nyad wants to show her solidarity for those who have suffered and hopes this event will gain momentum.
"We'll go to the end of the Boston Marathon. We'll go to Moore, Oklahoma. I'm still going to be that endurance swimmer, but I'm going to swim for those people who have suffered in a heartbeat, and are dealing with it for the rest of their lives," said Nyad
Nyad hopes her legacy, as a record-breaking endurance swimmer will live on through her goodwill efforts to help people around the world, citing community members with perseverance and spirit as her daily inspiration.
"That's what keeps me going," said Nyad, "People are good. You travel the world; I don't care whether it's a Maasai tribesmen, a farmer in Switzerland or a guy wearing a six-thousand dollar suit in New York City. Most people want to be valued members of the community, they want to help each other, and they want to live a good life. They want to laugh and love and live and help, every day, living it the best they can."