I asked my husband, Mike, to describe what the water felt like when he did Freezin’ for a Reason. I should probably pretend that he said something like, “It felt like a refreshing dip in an invigorating pool.” I’ll be honest. His response was,”It was like getting hit by a bus.”
But Mike was laughing as he described it, and he would do it again. Participating in this polar plunge is a great accomplishment that supports a very worthy cause. It’s also a hilarious memory for him and the hundreds of other people who have done it. And hey, if it was easy, it wouldn’t be nearly as exciting.
The Freezin’ for a Reason Virginia Polar Dip is an annual event at Lake Anne Plaza. It takes place this year on Saturday, February 7, 2015 at Lake Anne Plaza. Registration and activities will start at 12:00pm, and the jump will begin at 2:00pm.
This event is a fundraiser for Camp Sunshine, a Maine retreat for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families. Freezin’ for a Reason aims to raise $100,000 this year, and will use that money to send 50 families from Mid-Atlantic states to Camp Sunshine.
Camp Sunshine serves children diagnosed with cancer, hematologic conditions, renal disease, systemic lupus erythematosus, and who have undergone organ transplantation. The year-round program is free of charge, and includes 24-hour onsite medical and psychosocial support. Their mission is to provide respite, support, joy, and hope to these children. Camp Sunshine also provides bereavement programs for families who have lost a child to illness.
While at the camp, children and their families participate in a variety of sports and activities, including swimming, kayaking, volleyball, crafts, and music. Special events include a masquerade party, talent show, and wish boat launch. Support groups are available for parents to connect with people going through similarly difficult situations.
“When you have a child with a rare disease, it’s easy to feel alone and isolated. This week has given us support and hope, and we thank you for that,” said a parent who visited Camp Sunshine as a result of the Virginia Polar Dip.
The last night of each session of camp is celebrated with a launch of Wish Boats. Children make their own Wish Boats in arts and crafts class, and then gather by the pond to launch them. A candle is lit, and each child makes a wish.
“How can I ever begin to thank you for the gift that your donation has given to my family?” said another parent participant. “We were accepted to attend a Brain Tumor session. My family and I will never forget this trip or the generosity of the people who made it happen. You will forever be a part of my daughter’s journey.”
If you would like to help send a family to Camp Sunshine, show your support at Freezin’ for a Reason this weekend. At press time, they have met only 60% of their fundraising goals for this year, so they would love your support. So far they’ve earned enough to send 30 families to Camp Sunshine, and they would like to send 20 more.
Each participant is asked to contribute a minimum donation of $100, either through fundraising or self-sponsoring. Visit their website to register as an individual, form a team, or join a team. You can also register at the event, starting at 12:00pm on February 7, 2015 at Lake Anne Plaza.
Spectators are encouraged to come cheer for the jumpers, and it’s always an entertaining show. Attendance is free of charge. The weather is expected to be mild this weekend (hooray!), so crowds may be large. Arrive early if you want to find a great viewing spot.
The event organizers offer the following advice for participants:
- All participants should wear some kind of foot protection. It is difficult to predict what is at the bottom of the lake, which is about 6-8 feet deep at the jump site.
- Parking will be very tight. If the lot is full when you arrive, parking is available along North Shore Drive.
- Arrive early to register as the line will be very long the later you arrive.
- There are public bathrooms at the Community Center for changing before and after the plunge.
I also recommend that you bring costumes or props. This event is hilarious, so let’s keep it silly!
All participants will receive a long-sleeved commemorative t-shirt with “I DID IT!” displayed proudly on the back. You can wear your shirt with pride, and years later, you’ll still have bragging rights, a hilarious story, and the satisfaction of having helped a family in need.