New medal on his neck, same purpose in Eric Shanteau's heart

11:22 AM, Sep 20, 2012   |    comments
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ATLANTA -- Hometown Olympian Eric Shanteau returned home this week.

On Wednesday he visited the Aflac Cancer Center at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite. Around his neck was his brand new gold medal.

"Every time I look at it, it gets a little more real," said Shanteau.

Last month at the Olympics in London, the Gwinnett County native won gold as part of the 4x100 medley. He swam for Team USA in the preliminaries and watched his teammates capture the title in the finals.

Said Shanteau, "We all just looked at each other like, 'Wow; we're gold medalists.'"

Life has changed in the last month, but not the part of life that involves roaming hospital halls and visiting children with cancer. Shanteau is a cancer survivor himself, diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2008.

"It's something that is very close to my heart, something that I take very seriously," Shanteau said. "I really started this, basically the day after I was cleared of cancer in 2008."

At that time, Shanteau became involved with the Lance Armstrong Foundation; he wears LiveStrong bracelets to this day. He also started an annual event, called Swim for Your Life, which brings Olympians and hundreds of kids to a fundraiser on Lake Lanier.

"[I love] the way it's grown and the way it's been accepted in the Atlanta area," the gold medalist said. "Hopefully we can keep doing this as long as we need to."

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