HARVEYS LAKE – Wrapped in bathrobes, blankets and towels, more than 50 participants in Saturday's Polar Bear Plunge shivered as they waited to jump into the frigid waters of Harveys Lake.
In groups of 10, the brave souls stripped down to swim trunks, Speedos and bikinis and raced into the water.
The event was organized by Pat Doyne, of Luzerne, to benefit a co-worker's 2--year-old daughter, who is battling leukemia. Doyne, who works as a valet at The Mohegan Sun Casino at Pocono Downs in Plains Township, said while he was planning the event, he learned fellow casino employee, Anthony Glover's daughter, Jasleen had cancer and wanted the event dedicated to her.
Glover said he never met Doyne before Saturday's event, as they work in different departments at the casino, and was touched by the overwhelming support from Doyne and the other participants. I expected people to come and show support, but I didn't expect them to jump in, he said.
More than $1,000 was raised, which will help with Jasleen's medical expenses.
Harveys Lake emergency crews were on hand in and out of the water. One participated slipped on the lake's icy edge, dislocating his shoulder. Others waiting their turns hugged each other and jumped around to stay warm.
Zach Kraynack, of Exeter, said he wanted to take the plunge not only to lend support to Jasleen, but also to honor the memory of his 10-month-old sister, who died of leukemia in 1979. I'm very excited about this, he said. I know it's nuts, but I can't wait to do it again, and I haven't even done it yet.
Kraynack, who said he had attended school with Doyne, braced for the event by driving to the lake with no heat in his car and the windows down.
After emerging from the water with icicles cling to his beard, Kraynack said, I can now cross this off my bucket list.