I've been looking forward to this day for a few weeks now. I was worried I may not have the ability to swim or feel up to going out on New Years Day to play with my cold water buddies. Luckily for me I felt well enough to go.
Gordon has spend tireless hours organizing our 2nd polar plunge on the 1st of Jan of the year but this year he made it into an official race. It turned out to be a huge success. 8 people showed up! The course was 400 yards which is to the end of the marina and back. There were a TON of people there too. So many volunteers, family members, and even the press was there! Not just one but two media people were covering it. We've been begging for years for them to cover our events and finally they did. One was from the paper and the other from the Fox13 news.
I arrived with Patricia and my kids around 1130. There was a guy there from Fox13 news out of Salt Lake that wanted to interview Gords, Josh, and me. We took a few minutes and did some camera time. When he found out that I had cancer and am still participating in swims when I can, he was blown away. He asked if he could do a full story on me soon. I agreed.
I was humbled and tickled when I saw Josh for the first time today. He had shaven his head to show his support for me. I was truly touched.
Josh showing his support
Another thing that really got me chocked up was almost every swimmer there was dedicating this swim to me. Some admitted the ONLY reason they are doing it today was for me. You can't imagine how much that means. I thank you all. It's moments like today that DEFINITELY take some of the sting of chemo away.
Once everyone signed wavers, Gordon gave a briefing on how things were going to go then I gave a safety briefing. Everyone there we know and has earned a cap so it was a HUGE comfort that I wasn't talking to anyone that I wasn't already sure our club has confidence with the cold water.
There were 8 swimmers going in 4 waves of 2 people. Gords' wife Cathi was doing the timing and on the loudspeaker getting people to keep cheering for the swimmers. She's great at keeping people motivated.
The 3rd wave were my 2 friends I convinced just this morning to come. Kim Patterson and Anne Stanish. Kim was 95% sure she was in but I somehow pulled a mind trick on Anne and she cursed my name as she was pulling into the marina. The 2 of them took off together and Kim was alone so I happily walked along the marina walkway to cheer her on. They both did great. It was more exciting than I can describe watching my friends swim. I was a bit bummed that I couldn't swim but seeing everyone else actually did make up for it.
Gordon and Josh were last. Gords took off like a bat out of hell and ended up winning the event. After all was done, I stripped down and just got in. I ran until I knew it was deep enough, took a dive in, then turned around and ran out.
Me getting out
It wasn't as bad as I expected. As I was getting out, I knew I could have stayed in longer. I promised myself and my wife I would not take ANY stupid risks today and I intended to keep that promise. Chemo has taken pretty much all of my cold tolerance out of me. I get cold VERY easy now and am constantly trying to keep warm. Kinda sad how fast it has turned.
I was thrilled beyond words with how great of a turnout today was. Such an amazing job by Gordon organizing this and everyone had such a great time. I wasn't able to participate fully but being a part of today and cheering on my 8 swim friends was a perfect way to start my year. Thanks everyone!
Here are the Media coverages of our event. Newspaper coverage -
Next is Fox13 News
Fox13 News -