Portsmouth plunge goes on as planned, benefits local battling cancer
By: Chloe Leshner
PORTSMOUTH, R.I. (WLNE) -- Nationwide every New Years Day, people participate in polar plunges, running right into the freezing cold water. It's a chilling exercise every January, but this year was extreme. The frigid temperatures didn't stop some people in Portsmouth from taking part, doing it for a very worthy cause.
Several polar plunges were canceled or rescheduled this year because of the weather but the show did go on in Portsmouth.
Several very brave people running from an icy, snowy beach and taking the plunge.
"Coming out the air is shocking you got 40 degree, 35 degree water you come out into 10 degree air and its horrible," says Kaleif Mitchell of Newport.
"I can't feel my feet right now but we're hanging in," says Mitchell Lavoie of Berkley, Massachusetts.
This year though, it was a very quick plunge, divers hurrying back to the bonfire on shore.
"I was definitely expecting the worst this is the coldest day I've ever been out here but it was so exhilarating," says Raymond Melanson of Swansea.
Several other area plunges were canceled because of the extreme cold, the Polar Dive for Hannah in Portsmouth the only one to go on as planned. Organizers say they didn't even think twice about canceling because of what it means to one local family.
"Hannah Wertens is a 14 year old from Portsmouth who is battling leukemia and is in the hospital right now, this is a fundraiser for her and her mother," says John Vikevitch with the Portsmouth Business Association.
The event a success, those taking part say it's worth it, knowing who it's helping in the end.
"It was all to benefit for a good cause, that's why we did it," says Lavoie.
And even those who didn't dive in, dropping donations in the jar.
"That's why we didn't cancel this thing this is a fundraiser. F–u–n raiser and everyone here, do you see anyone crying here? Everyone is having fun and we're raising money for a good cause," says Vikevitch.
They do have the bonfire on the beach every year but they were extra cautious today because of the weather and had medical staff and divers ready to go if needed.