Alex's Biggest Race

Washington, District of Columbia | Film Short


Julia Hoppock

1 Campaigns | District of Columbia, United States

Green Light

This campaign raised $16,965 for post-production. Follow the filmmaker to receive future updates on this project.

124 supporters | followers

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What would you do if you were told you had 18 months to live? Faced with a devastating diagnosis, 37-year-old Alex Klose rallies his high school relay team from 20 years ago to join him in a swim for his life. Join us in getting this film across the finish line and onto screens.

About The Project

  • The Story
  • Wishlist
  • Updates
  • The Team
  • Community

Mission Statement

This story is for cancer survivors, former athletes, and anyone overcoming adversity. It's a female-led production with an inclusive environment for all crew members and supporters.

The Story


"Now I'm literally swimming to save my life" 

When longtime swimmer Alex Klose was diagnosed with stage 4 Glioblastoma brain cancer, he froze. At 37 years old, married with two toddlers, he was supposed to be enjoying the golden years of his life, not preparing for the end of it.  But instead of giving in, he prepared for his biggest race yet.


"There's no point wasting energy on being negative so I don't"  

He underwent surgery to remove the tumor, started radiation and chemotherapy, and then joined a promising clinical trial. Less than a month after surgery, he got back in the pool. Swimming was critical to his recovery. Every stroke gave him energy where the radiation depleted him, every workout made him feel like he could live forever.

"Swimming is freedom. It's what my body was meant to do." 

He swam 3-4 times a week throughout his treatment. He started feeling stronger and knew he finally had to do it. Get the “Fab Four” back together for another relay at the US Masters Swimming Pan-American Championships in Orlando, FL.


"We were always going to crush it"- Brett, the backstroker

The "Fab Four" was the name given to four freshmen swimmers on the Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School medley relay team in 1994. Brett, Alex, Rich and Raffi all excelled at different strokes and quickly started breaking records and winning county titles. Throughout their four years, they forged the kind of bond that only comes out of waking up at 4 am, suffering through swim sets together, engaging in locker room hijinks, and beating out the competition with 5 meters left to go. The kind of bond you think will last forever.


"You can't recapture that kind of adolescent energy"

But life got in the way and 20 years later, they hadn't all been together. Raffi had lost touch with the Fab Four and Alex was already plotting to use an alternate to swim the butterfly leg in Orlando. When Raffi heard about Alex's cancer, he reached out to him and said about the alternate: "You can tell him to stay home. I'll be there."



And that's where I come into the story. I'm the youngest sister of the freestyler on this relay, grew up swimming summer league with these guys, and remember being simultaneously thrilled and mortified when they cheered "Go Pookie!" when I hit the wall. I swam for the same high school after they graduated, in the shadow of their unbroken relay record.  I'm also a filmmaker and when Rich told me about this reunion, I knew it was a great story. But it's personal for me and I want to tell it right. 



This is where you come in. Additional funding is needed to do this story justice. Together we can take this project from a video that gets seen by friends and family to a polished, professional film that could make it to a big screen. Editing, graphics, color correction, festival fees, and streaming services all cost money. With your help, we can get this film across the finish line in a final form worthy of the story and the people in it.


ALEX'S BIGGEST RACE is fiscally sponsored by Women in Film and Video, a 501 (c) 3 community benefit organization. If you would like to make a tax deductible donation, please email me at julia.hoppock(at)



Use the WishList to Pledge cash and Loan items - or - Make a pledge by selecting an Incentive directly.

Cash Pledge

Costs $0

Sound Mix

Costs $3,500

Sound design makes the piece come alive.

Music Composition

Costs $3,500

Music is the emotional core of this piece. It sets the tone.

Color Correction

Costs $2,000

Color correction makes the footage vivid and life-like.

About This Team

I’m a documentary director and producer with over a decade of storytelling experience in journalism and the non-profit sector. I have spent my career producing stories that connect viewers to the issues that impact their lives. This is my first independent project. 


I'm also the youngest sister of the freestyler featured in this film. I grew up swimming with all of the film subjects, went to the same high school as them, and watched in awe as their relay record stood for years after they graduated. I'm honored and thrilled to be telling their story.


Current Team