People all over the North Shore will strip down to their swimsuits and jump into the Atlantic in the coming weeks, as they brave the cold for a host of good causes.
Among the icy events planned is the annual Swampscott Yacht Club Polar Plunge, scheduled for 11 a.m. Monday, Jan. 1.
“The camaraderie, the fact that it’s open to the town and it brings in a lot of friendly faces you might not see as the summer goes away is a good chance for families to come together to challenge themselves knowing that they’re doing it for a good cause,” Commodore Bill Sullivan said. This year’s plunge has two beneficiaries. Landscape designer Susan Balleza, a mother of four, has been suffering for almost two years with Lyme disease that presents as ALS. The disease has left her paralyzed from the neck down and unable to speak. Proceeds will help her family with round-the-clock nursing care, medicine, and other health care costs. Money raised will also go toward a college fund for the children of Jennifer Hamilton, who died this year after battling breast cancer. Registration begins at 10:30 a.m. Monday at the yacht club, 425 Humphrey St., Swampscott. The first 100 people to make plunge donations of $25 or more will receive a commemorative T-shirt. Swampscott Yacht Club’s Polar Plunge has raised more than $100,000 for local charities since its inception. Past beneficiaries include the Swampscott Library, The Haven Project, The Friends of Swampscott Sailing, My Brother’s Table, The Jared Raymond and Jennifer Harris Scholarship Funds, The Legere Family Education Fund, Journeys of Hope, The Maureen Ingram Scholarship Fund, the Swampscott Education Foundation and the Whelan Education Fund. “There’s a good begets good mentality here,” Sullivan said. “We’re a small club but to be able to do this feels good inside the club, but we also know we’re doing it for the community so it’s a win-win.”
Plunge 4 Pete
Cape Ann will have its sixth annual Plunge 4 Pete on Saturday, Dec. 30. The plunge to strike out ALS starts at noon with registration at the Bass Rocks Golf Club, 34 Beach Road, Gloucester. Plungers will race to the water at 1 p.m. on Good Harbor Beach, Gloucester. After the plunge, all are welcome to Bass Rocks for a celebration and awards ceremony with food, music and a cash bar.
Freshwater Cove Polar Bear Swim
The ninth annual Freshwater Cove Polar Bear Swim will be held on Monday, Jan. 1 at 11 a.m. The dip will start at noon. The Freshwater Cove Village residents and their guests will jump into the cove, at the bottom of Waterside Lane in Gloucester. Organizers suggest wearing aqua socks or old sneakers. Before the plunge, there will be a New Year’s toast and food. Heaters and a fire pit will be available for warming up afterward.
Freeze Your Tush Off
The ninth annual Freeze Your Tush Off for Charity ocean dip will take place on Jan. 1 at 11 a.m. at the Winter Island boat ramp, 50 Winter Island Road, Salem. Since its inception, the “Tush” has raised nearly $20,000 for the Salem Pantry. Donations of cash, checks and canned/staple goods will be accepted. Representatives from the pantry will be on hand to accept donations and provide tax receipts if requested. Raffles and refreshments will be available in the function hall. For more information or to volunteer, call Becky Christie at 978-580-5016 or visit https://fyto.weebly.com. Donations can also be made at https://www.gofundme.com/freeze-your-tush-off-2018.
Rocky Neck New Year’s Day Plunge
The Rocky Neck New Year’s Day Plunge will take place on Jan. 1 at 1 p.m. at Oaks Cove Beach off of Stevens Way, Gloucester. Organizers will collect nonperishable food donations for the Open Door at the beach entrance. Needed items include peanut butter, tuna, canned fruits and vegetables, cereal and soups. Check donations made out to the Open Door will also be accepted.
Polar Plunge to End Polio
The 2018 Polar Plunge to End Polio, hosted by Rotary District 7930, will be held on Feb. 3 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Cape Ann Motor Inn, 33 Rockport Road, Gloucester. The Rockport Rotary raised $1,915 to fight polio at last year’s plunge, where more than 250 people dove into the icy waters of Long Beach in Gloucester. Rockport Rotary is part of an umbrella Rotary Foundation, a humanitarian service organization with nearly 34,000 clubs in more than 200 countries and geographical areas. The overall Rotary effort will pay for over a quarter of a million polio vaccines for children worldwide.
North Shore Polar Plunge
The North Shore Polar Plunge will be held in two locations on Feb. 4, in Salem’s Winter Island and at Lynch Park in Beverly. The Super Bowl Sunday event will help end homelessness and help to build affordable housing.
Salem: check-in is at 9:30 a.m., with the plunge at 11. There will be a post-plunge party at Salem Winter Island’s function hall.
Beverly: check-in is at 11 a.m., followed by the plunge at 12:30 p.m. with a post-plunge party at the Beverly High School cafeteria.
Last year, more than 400 people plunged into the freezing ocean to raise more than $44,000 for three local nonprofits; the North Shore Community Development Coalition, the Salem Education Foundation and Lifebridge, which recently merged with River House in Beverly. Organizers continued the tradition of awarding the Plunge Cup to the school that raises the most money and the Big Splash Award to the school with the highest participation. by Mary Markos salemnews.com