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Participants of a Polar Plunge in the US Northeast had thoughts of Aruba to help keep them warm, with hopes of winning a week stay at the Playa Linda!
The annual event, held at Rye Beach, NY, during a frigid-feeling Sunday, was organized to raise funds for MAC Angels, a non-profit that supports families living with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) in the tri-state area (NY, NJ, CT).
“Aruba gave it a great theme this year,” proclaimed Philip Gormley, a MAC Angels Board Member, who was also a participant and led the plunge this year. The lucky winner, who excitedly displayed the one-week stay certificate during the post Plunge celebration, is now looking forward to planning a dream vacation at the Playa Linda, and to spending time under Aruba’s reliably sunny skies.
The Plunge was first initiated by Ray Kelly, for the Challenged Athletes Foundation, and later joined by MAC Angels, under the guidance of Philip Gormley, when his own sister Claire was diagnosed with ALS. Several associated foundations also took part in the fundraiser. The ultimate winner of the Playa Linda week stay is a Soul Ryeders cyclist, and part of a cancer support group. She participated in the plunge with “Team April”, in memory of April Dean, 41, who passed away from cancer in December. Also present were “PALS” (people with ALS), Pauline and Benita, who thanked supporters, who also included individuals who took part in honor of and in memory of loved ones lost to ALS.
“Due to the cold time of year, having Aruba and the beach and warmth and sunshine helped us draw more people to the Plunge, and contributed to the success of the event.” explains MAC Angels Foundation Program Director Ellen L. DiCicco.
MAC Angels has supported over 500 families with ALS in the tri-state area since 2010, and actively helps 100 families with ALS. It services are free and unique to each family. There are numerous organizations that raise money for treatments and research; MAC Angels compliments these organizations by bridging the gap in services, providing direct assistance, home care equipment and emotional support to families during their journey with ALS.