A South Dakota mother from Platte created a splash half-way around the world when she walked into the Missouri River August 1.
Linda DeHaai swam for three full days, covering 15 miles just west of Platte. She hoped to raise $2,000 - enough money for a new well in India. But her efforts earned enough for four wells to be built in the eastern mountains.
"That's pretty cool" DeHaai said. "I just think that it's about time."
This week, ground breaks on the second well paid for by donations given to DeHaai.
A well in Amulova village is in an area where children have never seen clean water but instead, drink out of ponds and puddles.
"That's disgusting to me," DeHaai said.
Pastor Samuel Sudarsanam oversees the projects in India and spoke with us via Skype.
"So by drinking the water from the ponds and the polluted water, children are becoming crippled, physically handicapped and mentally retarded," Sudarsanam said.
While DeHaai will likely never meet the children benefiting from her fundraiser, she knows what it's like to receive help. DeHaai survived a serious battle with breast cancer. She underwent six months of chemo and a double mastectomy. She remembers the generosity from others during the darkest time of her life.
"Everybody needs help now and then," DeHaai said. "I just can't help but think if I was in their shoes would I want somebody to help me. And especially if you know how rich we are here."
During her swim, she encountered strong storms, turtles and even a snake. She admits it wasn't easy, but would do it again if it meant providing clean water for people in need.
"My goodness, we have everything we could ever want in luxury. But people are dying and kids are being born deformed and whatever because they don't even have water," DeHaai said.
Due to cultural differences, Sudarsanam couldn't understand why people would pay DeHaai to swim without it being a swimming competition. But he's thankful for help from South Dakota.
"We are so privileged people by having her doing such a great activity," Sudersanam said.
Her swim raised nearly $5,000 for the Chamberlain-based non-profit Champions House. Founder Tim Rancour started in 2008 helping orphans, paying for medical procedures and providing wheelchairs to children with disabilities. With DeHaai's help, they've drilled 17 wells to date.
"These are the poorest of the poor," Rancour said. "They are the untouchables, they call them the untouchables. In their society if you even touch one of them, you're supposed to shower. You're supposed to take a bath and that's these kids."
Political and civil unrest in India is making well construction difficult. The villages are also so deep into the jungle, it requires drillers to travel up to three hours each way and spend nights in huts. But Rancour says overcoming the obstacles are worth it, to prevent the illnesses brought on by dirty water. Something he witnessed first hand during a recent visit.
"They waited for us to empty our bottles," Rancour said. "It took a while for me to figure out what they were doing. They were standing their watching us and they waited for us to finish out water bottle so they could take them over to the pond and fill them up."
And DeHaai says she's thankful for the financial help she's received to give clean water to people who otherwise wouldn't have it.
"Everybody has a vision, everybody has a talent. If they would just not be scared of following through. But I was, too. But just do it," DeHaai said.
If you didn't get a chance to support DeHaai's swim, it's not over yet. Champions House accepts money to build more wells as long as support continues.