Plunge organizers hoping for much warmer waters

First Posted: 3/18/2012

The seventh year for the Polar Bear Plunge at Harveys Lake might not be as chilly as one would expect.

Three juniors from Lake-Lehman High School are hoping the warmer weather this month may increase participation in the annual event to be held on March 24, which raises money for the American Cancer Society as part of the girls’ senior project.

“In previous years, they had to chip out the ice before people could jump in,” said 17-year-old Bethany Williams, of Harveys Lake. “We’re hoping turnout will be better since it won’t be that cold.”

The Polar Bear Plunge takes place every March at the Garrity Realty dock off Lakeside Drive. Groups of 10 to 12 people make a minimum donation of $10 each to take a dip in the icy lake. The event also features prizes for the kookiest plunging costume and most donations as well as basket raffles.

Williams, 16-year-old Cassie Stevens and 17-year-old Sami Sabol decided to take on the project after participating in the tradition when they were younger.

“It’s all about the adrenaline,” said Williams.

Sabol plunged in the past just to be able to say she did.

“It’s just a crazy thing to do,” she said.

The founder of the event, Allison Boris, was a member of the Lake-Lehman swim team and started the tradition in memory of her father, Buddy, of Harveys Lake, who died of cancer when Alison was a junior at Lake-Lehman.

Stevens, of Harveys Lake, said her grandmother is a cancer survivor, and Williams said she’d be hard pressed to find someone who hasn’t been affected by the disease.

“So many people have been impacted by cancer and it’s important to support treatments and to find a cure,” said Williams.

The event wasn’t held last year because no students wanted to take on the project, said Stevens. She said she’s found young members of the swim team to keep the tradition going next year.

In 2010, the event raised more than $4,000 for the American Cancer Society, and the three girls are hoping this year’s event will be even more successful.

“It’s for a good cause and it’s something unique,” said Sabol, of Shavertown. “I don’t know of many other places that have a plunge.”

Take the plunge

What: The Seventh Annual Harveys Lake Polar Bear Plunge

Where: Garrity Realty, Pole 89, Lakeside Dr., Harveys Lake

When: Noon on Saturday, March 24

Cost: Minimum donation is $10. Donors of $50 will get a t-shirt. All proceeds benefit the American Cancer Society.

For more information: Visit! or contact Stevens at 639-7209, Sabol at 696-3994 or Williams at 477-5807.

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