Saturday, January 28, 2012
Day 28: Froze My Butt Off...For Charity
Today I did a random act of kindness that would probably be better classified as a random act of insanity or stupidity. I did the annual Lakeview Polar Bear Club Polar Plunge. Last year when I drove by during the event, I said to my wife, "There is no way I will ever do something as dumb as that." It's funny the things this mission of kindness gets me to do.
I typically don't mind the cold. In fact, I don't really mind cold water due to certain fraternal events in college. However, standing on the shore of Lake Michigan today, I became terrified. I was flanked by people in bikinis and speedos who seemed to be ok in the weather (it could have been some liquid courage that calmed their nerves), but I was literally and figuratively shaking in my boots. As the time came for me to get in, I gave one last look to my wife and daughter and bolted towards the water. I was screaming like I was on the front lines of the final battle from Braveheart, but as soon as I hit the water, my lungs shrank and I could yell no more. What was probably 25-30 seconds seemed like an eternity. Imagine thousands of tiny knives stabbing at you from your head to your toes. I sprinted out of the water to my wife, who was waiting for me with a towel and dry clothes. I have never gotten dressed so quickly in my life. We hurried back to the car, picked up some hot soup, and came home. As I type this, I still have a tingly feeling in 4 out of my 10 fingers. Thus far, this was the craziest thing I have done during my year of kindness.
For as loony and insane as the Polar Plunge is, the event helps to raise money each year for two families in need. Through the Plunge participants' entry fees, donations, and fundraising efforts, the Brya and Kline families will receive the financial assistance needed to help their children continue to battle debilitating medical conditions. As cold as I was when I jumped into the water today, my heart was warmed knowing that these children were going to have a better chance to overcome their conditions. Please check out the link above to learn more about the families helped by the 2012 Polar Plunge.