2009-01-09 / Community

Get Ready To Take The Plunge

By Nicholas Briano

More than a hundred swimmers dared the frigid water of the Atlantic Ocean for the "Take the Plunge for Cystic Fibrosis for Annie McMahon" last February. The event is set to take place again this year on February 7. More than a hundred swimmers dared the frigid water of the Atlantic Ocean for the "Take the Plunge for Cystic Fibrosis for Annie McMahon" last February. The event is set to take place again this year on February 7. The average high temperature for the first week of February is 39 degrees. That, however, won't stop a group of daring swimmers who plan to take a plunge into the frigid winter Atlantic Ocean water.

But why do they do it? No, not because they are crazy, but rather, to raise money for Cystic Fibrosis. The ninth annual event, to be held on February 7 at 1:00 p.m. is formally known as "Take the Plunge for Cystic Fibrosis for Annie McMahon." The participants, more than one hundred each year, raise money for the event and then dive into the cold water of the Atlantic Ocean's average February water temperature of 34 degrees.

John McMahon, whose daughter has Cystic Fibrosis, is the co-founder of the event and donates 100 percent of the proceeds to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

"Every year this event gets bigger and bigger," he said. "It is a great event that brings the entire community together."

This year's event will start at 1:00 p.m. at Saint Camillus Church, located at 185 Beach 99 Street, where the participants and other supporters will meet in the gymnasium before lining up for a short parade to the ocean. This is all in preparation for the actual plunge from the shores of Rockaway Beach.

Anyone not daring enough to take that plunge could still participate in the day's festivities and after party, which will include food, drinks, raffles and music for a $40 donation. More information can be found on the web at Rockawayplunge.com

Cystic Fibrosis is a rare genetic disease that is mostly discovered in infancy. It affects various glands and results in secretion of thick mucus that blocks internal passages, including those of the lungs, causing respiratory infections. The pancreas is also affected when digestive enzymes fail and impair nutrition. More than 30,000 Americans are infected and 70,000 worldwide. Despite the consistent rise in life expectancy over the past fifty years, most Cystic Fibrosis patients still only live to a median age of 37. There are 1,000 new cases reported each year.

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