A chilly dip for a good cause

Jan 1, 2019

MATTAPOISETT — The air temperature might not have been freezing this year, but after polar plunge participants got out of the water they could still understand the name of the Freezin’ for a Reason fundraiser.

The event raises money for local families who struggle with the costs of cancer care, and attracts the young and old alike to Mattapoisett Town Beach at noon on new year’s day. 

“It’s wicked nice this year! Last year it was so cold,” said Marcia Anuszczyk, one of the event’s organizers.

When participants and spectators enter Town Beach they are handed a ribbon by volunteers. These ribbons come with a little card, explaining that they serve as a mini prayer flag, and are meant to be hung with a wish for the new year, which will then be blown off into the wind. I WILL, who organizes the event saves the ropes of ribbons each year to use next year. 

Sentimental reasons aside, the ribbons also offer a rough head count for event organizers.

“One way we keep track of how many people attend is the prayer flags. We printed 300 last year and handed them all out, and still had people coming,” said Anuszczyk. Volunteers also handed out their final ribbons this year too.

Event organizers also sold custom 2019 event t-shirts, designed by high school student Danya Bischel, offered warm drinks in a heated tent and ran a bonfire to help plungers warm up.

Participant Lisa House took on the polar plunge as part of Team Sophia, a group of family members who had united around her two year old granddaughter who is currently battling a type of cancer called PLTD.

“She had a liver transplant in June and is undergoing chemo and doing well,” House explained.

Another plunger didn’t think the water would be that bad, but was quickly proven wrong.

“It was much colder than I thought!” said Johanna Riley, who participated in her first plunge on her 70th birthday.