SCRANTON — Wearing funky costumes and diving for prizes, people gathered around the pool at Montage Mountain on Saturday for the annual “Splashin’ with Compassion” polar plunge.
The plunge, organized by the Friends of Shannon McDonough, began in 2014 as way to both keep their friend’s memory alive and raise funds for other young cancer patients.
The Friends of Shannon McDonough started in 2009 after Shannon McDonough passed away from colon cancer. Sheri Jordan, of Scranton, said their group of friends, known as the “12-pack,” before McDonough’s passing started making shirts for parade day in Scranton to honor their friend.
“We starting donating (the proceeds) to people in the area with cancer,” Jordan said.
In 2014, however, they decided to host an event on a “bigger scale,” and came up with the first polar plunge.
“We wanted to make it as big and fun as we can,” Jordan said.
And big it has become. The plunge isn’t just about diving in cold water. The organization, Jordan said, works with businesses throughout the community to have a basket raffle and prizes for apparel to raise money. Now, the proceeds from the plunge go to cancer patients ages 16 to 25, and Jordan credits the success of the event to the community, which has supported the organization from the beginning.
“It’s a team effort,” Jordan said. “Seeing the community come out and support us is amazing.”
And the community has as much fun with the event as the organizers do. One group of women, known as “The Chickens” for their white tutus and chicken swimming caps, participate in activities around the area, including the plunge, as a way to stay active and social.
“We wanted to start doing activities together,” Tracy Wescott, of Dalton, said.
Some of the women in the group are returning for their second and third plunges, while some took their first dive Saturday afternoon.
“We do it to stay young,” Wescott said.
And Jordan said this type of event is exactly what McDonough would have wanted.
“She would love this,” Jordan said.
Reach Brigid Edmunds at 570-991-6113 or on Twitter @TLNews.comments powered by Disqus