Take the Plunge

By: Ashmar Mandou

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Local NewsAre you ready to brace the icy waters of Lake Michigan for a worthy cause? The Chicago Polar Bear Club (CPBC) returns for its 23rd Annual Polar Plunge on Saturday, Jan, 27th, where hundreds of brave souls will gather at Oak Street Beach for an afternoon of fun with fellow plungers. “We are so excited; I think we are going to have another amazing event and raise a lot of money for four really deserving families,” said Founder Brian Marchal.

The Annual Polar Plunge has a long tradition of fundraising to benefit local families in need, with the first fundraising event occurring in 2003, and this year CPBC aims to raise $60,000 to support this year’s local families, the Carillo, Black, Morgan, and Mudasar-Asghr families. “The plunge itself is so much fun, but what we are most proud of is that we can help families in need. I feel very lucky and honored that several times I have been able to give the first check to these families. They’ve cried and I have cried,” said Marchal. “We feel so blessed that we are able to help them pay their bills, to help eliminate stress, we are lucky that we can do so.” To date, CPBC has raised close to $650,000 and has helped over 50 families since its inception. “When we first started we were raising $5,ooo to $6,ooo a year for our first few years. I am proud of what has become of the fundraising.” Two of the four families that will benefit from this year’s Annual Polar Plunge include:

The Carillo Family

Meet the Carillo Family:
Victor, Karina, and their daughter, Arabella, are a loving family facing significant challenges. Arabella, born prematurely at 27 weeks, battles Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia and Tracheo Bronchomalacia, relying on a ventilator to breathe and requiring round-the-clock medical attention. Frequent hospital visits strain the family emotionally and financially, with both parents having to accompany her due to the inherent risks associated with her conditions during travel.

How We Can Help:
Your support can alleviate the Cabrillo family’s burdens, offering Arabella a chance at a brighter future. By easing the financial strain, Karina could pursue her nursing license, Victor could resume practicing as an engineer, and Arabella could progress toward a healthier, more normal life. Join us in assisting this resilient family on their journey to triumph over adversity.

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Local News

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Local News

The Black Family

Meet the Black Family:
The Black family faces unique challenges after the premature birth of one-and-a-half-year-old twins, Edward and Essence. While Edward has made remarkable progress and is now home, Essence continues her recovery in the hospital – where she has spent her entire 1.5 years of life, since birth. Eriane, their devoted mother, faces transportation hurdles due to the lack of a car, relying on public transportation for daily hospital visits and managing the family’s needs.

How We Can Help:
Your support can provide a lifeline for Eriane and her family by helping them obtain a reliable vehicle. This simple yet impactful gift would streamline medical visits, make trips to doctors more efficient for Edward, and ensure safer transportation for essential needs. With your assistance, Eriane can focus on caring for her children, fostering their resilience and health. Let’s join forces to contribute to their journey towards a brighter, warmer future.

If you are interested in participating in this year’s polar plunge, but are nervous, Marchal offered up a few tips on how to have a successful first plunge. “There are a few things people can do to help prepare themselves for their first plunge. If you can take a few cold showers that would help. It’s all about acclimatizing the best you can before the event. If it’s cold outside, walk down the street with your coat open. Really take it in and get used to that cold. Once you’re down at the beach, it’s about being safe. Everyone who participates must wear something on their feet. We tell people to make sure they have two towels, a towel to dry off with and a towel to stand on in case of snow. If you dry your hair and put a hat on, and dry off your feet and put socks on, to me that’s the absolute key,” said Marchal. “This is a great event, it’s about community, everyone is there to have fun, and I think that’s what makes the day special.”

If you are unable to attend, but still would like to donate, you can do so by visiting, www.chicagopolarbearclub.com, to a participant’s individual fundraising page: https://givebutter.com/c/cpbc2024, all donations are tax-deductible, with 100 percent of proceeds from donations going directly to help the families we fundraise to support each year, contributions by check should be made out to the Chicago Polar Bear Club, NFP and sent to: PO Box A3616, Chicago, IL 60690. If you are interested in participating, visit www.chicagopolarbearclub.com to register for the event.

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