More than 100 brave souls took the plunge Saturday morning at Little Beach in Port Stanley, making a splash for children with cancer.
It was the 3rd annual Port Stanley Polar Bear Dip in support of Childcan, and although the final total has not been tabulated, participants shattered this year’s $20,000 target with just under $30,000 raised as of late Saturday.
Fifteen-year-old Angel Murray of Woodstock watched apprehensively as 106 people charged into the frigid water in small groups and just as quickly scampered back to shore.
The teenager had two compelling reasons to join the frigid fray as the final polar plungee of the day.
“My cousins was diagnosed with cancer at age three. He’s 23 now and he’s going to be a father. I also have a friend Stephanie who was diagnosed with cancer and has undergone brain surgeries.”
Stephanie is the daughter of Renee Simmons, with Childcan’s family and support programs in London.
“Stephanie has battled cancer bravely and she is going to be graduating from Fanshawe,” advised Angel’s mother, Babs.
So what was running through her mind as Angel stood shivering in the sand, mustering up every last ounce of courage?
“I was thinking I’m not going to do this It was cold, it was very, very cold. But to be honest, it was so worth it. It was worth being in the water.”
As mom wrapped her brave daughter in a warm towel, there was no mistaking her admiration.
“I’m very proud of her for doing this. I’ve been healthy enough and lucky enough to have three very healthy kids. They have all had very healthy childhoods. To see my youngest want to do something like this and realize how fortunate she is to have had a healthy childhood and be there to help other kids and their families, I’m very proud of her. I am overjoyed. I couldn’t be a prouder mom right now.”
Having ventured where very few others would dare until the lazy, hazy days of summer, was Stephanie content to savor the moment and move on?
“No, I’m coming back next year,” she vowed.