“Growing up on the East Coast, I had always heard of the Polar Bear Plunge and those “crazy people” who jumped into the freezing ocean for no reason. Well, at least I thought it was no reason back in the day.
I eventually came to realize that it was a charity event, but I still never thought of myself as a “polar bear.” Well this year, I decided to just take the dive. I mean, what’s the worst that can happen? I decided to do it, but I wasn’t about to go alone.
When I brought the idea to Chris Schell, he was all about sponsoring a team. He generously footed the initial registration fee for any employee who wanted to take the dive. Fifteen of us in all decided we were brave crazy enough to go through with it. So, I registered us all on FirstGiving, set up the team page, and hoped for the best. I really thought we would only raise about $1,000 or so. Boy was I wrong!
We had raised $8,202 in additional donations! We rose to be the second highest contributing team out of 286! Including registration fees and a donation from Firstgiving, our team raised a total of $9,552 for Special Olympics Delaware. To see the smiles on the kids’ faces was worth the icy dip we were all about to take.”
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“The air is warm for January. 50 degrees outside, but you can feel the cold creeping off the ocean, it’s like standing in front of an open freezer door. We stand on the beach in anticipation, people are laughing joking, dressed in everything from speedos to full costumes, complete strangers are joining together to take pictures. The sun is out, it’s fun, a great sense of community pervades the air, and then suddenly they are counting down, 5-4-3-2-1.
The brave dive into the water, and come up stunned, momentarily breathless, as your muscles contract to the point where you can’t breathe, then you are heading out of the water and it’s over. That was awesome, high fives all around, and I wrap up in a towel, you are definitely alive!
Rob decides we should go again, and we are off to the water, but this time you’re not 98 degrees anymore, your core temperature has already been lowered, and the cold hurts this time, holy crap it’s COLD, you dive under because what’s the point if you don’t, and start out of the water, except this time the beach seems like a long ways away, especially when you are wearing a mermaid dress. The plunge is complete, we all survived unscathed, it was a blast, a great way to raise money for the Delaware Special Olympics.
What’s that you say? Mermaid dress? Ah yes… yes it did say mermaid dress back there. Thought I might be able to skip that part, but way too many photos floating around to deny it I suppose. So, in an effort to help along my portion of the fundraising and make things more interesting I decided to auction off, um, well, my dignity.
For a donation of $100 I offered to do anything within reason. I had several takers and one was to wear a mermaid dress, and the makeup that accompanied it. What can I say, a $1,000 donation buys a lot of dignity. The boss is never happy doing something halfway, which I’m thankful for because it made the day really fun.
I’m not sure how I’ll top it next year, but the bar has been set and so is my total fundraising goal. This year $2,200, next year I might have to go for $3,500, so start planning now for what your $100 will buy. Thanks to all who supported the cause and for my amazing teammates at Schell Brothers who were great sports! Special thanks to Rob Hoeller who browbeat me into signing up, and who coordinated everything, including our super-cool robes.
We hope to see you next year at the plunge!”
– Dion Lamb