BY CAROL MCILMURRAY
NYACK- With temperatures below freezing, droves of “crazy but warm hearted people” came out to participate in the Eighth Annual Penguin Plunge on the icy banks of the Hudson River at Memorial Park in Nyack this past Sunday, March 1. As snow began to fall, 100 brave souls jumped into the Hudson River in order to raise money for three local children who are currently fighting life long illnesses, while hundreds of others cheered them on. All three children suffer from extremely rare genetic conditions that require extensive medical treatment. This year’s Penguin Plunge has raised over $30,000 through numerous events, funding websites, and close to a 100 community sponsors. Nyack Mayor Jen Laird-White was among those who dipped into the frigid waters of the
Hudson River after she led a successful campaign to raise over $2,200 for the charity. David Henry Stall, 23, of Nyack jumped into the glacial waters with his co-workers from HDR, the company responsible for designing the new Tappan Zee Bridge. Their Mahwah office started a fund to sponsor their endeavor into the subzero waters. Stall confirmed the water was “as cold as it looks.” Stall continued to say he “still plans on doing it again next year.” The event was the brainchild of Barbara Noyes, a South Nyack police officer, and local resident Mike Lynch, when they met at a local Toastmasters event over eight years ago. Each year they nominate local children in need of medical care and support, and organize the event in their honor. This year’s recipients are Brian Domitrovits, Khlo Berry, and Clara Ryan.
Brian Domitrovits, 4, of Sparkill, was diagnosed with Ataxia-Teleangiectasia, a condition that combines the worst symptoms of muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, cystic fibrosis, immune deficiencies and cancer. Khlo Berry, 2, of Valley Cottage, suffers from a rare genetic condition that causes unmanageable and debilitating seizures, which limit her ability to speak and require continuous treatment. Clara Ryan, 3, of Piermont has Lymphatic Malformation, a condition that causes cysts to grow uncontrollably in her body and face, impacting her airway, and disrupting her vision, muscles, and tongue. The Plunge still has not reached its goal of raising $50,000 dollars for these young children. Due to strong community involvement there are still several more events planned through April 2 to raise money. A Zumba class will be held at TZ High School at 7 p.m. this Thursday March 5, a $10 donation is suggested.
For more information please visit www.penguinplungeny.com or to simply make a donation go to: https://sites.google.com/site/penguinplungeny/make-donations.