Long Island Polar Dip raises funds to send local children with life-threatening illnesses and their families to Camp Sunshine in Maine – Camp Sunshine’s Mike Katz participating in all 10 dips across the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic
(Long Island, NY) The iconic Camp Sunshine Freezin’ For a Reason campaign splashes back to Amityville this weekend for the Long Island Polar Dip. In all, ten dips are planned across the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic through March, with a goal of raising $400,000 in total. This is the 8th year a dip has been held in Long Island.
“Camp Sunshine Polar Dips, where instinct and reason are ignored, is humanity at its finest,” said Michael Smith, Director of Special Events at Camp Sunshine. “We throw away sanity with our robes so that children with life-threatening illnesses and their families may experience the rejuvenating benefits of Camp Sunshine.”
Funds are raised by teams and individual registrants who commit to taking the icy swim. The funds enable Long Island children with life-threatening illnesses and their families to enjoy a week at the award-winning Camp Sunshine on Sebago Lake in Maine free-of-charge. At Camp Sunshine, they join other families on similar journeys and experience the benefits of empathy and encouragement, recovery and recreation, and hope and inspiration.
To understand the significance of the Camp Sunshine Polar Dips, you need look no further than the former Camp Sunshine families who participate in and often organize the annual events. Having experienced Camp Sunshine, they are inspired to give that gift to other families. The Sojak Family of Farmingdale has attended Camp Sunshine and is participating in the Long Island Polar Dip for that reason.
At 11 months old, Michael Sojak was diagnosed with a rare form of childhood liver cancer. Camp Sunshine became the family’s refuge during a time filled with fear and devastation. “Camp offers a respite from hospitals, doctors, and chemotherapy and replaces it with much needed family and friends fun time,” explains Michael’s mom, Lucy. “After several years of attending Camp, we became volunteers and polar dippers so that families on similar journeys can experience the joy of Camp Sunshine.”
Those same sentiments are echoed by Ann and John Feminella of West Islip. Their son, Joseph, survived a brain cancer diagnosis and the family attended Camp Sunshine on multiple occasions. “Camp was the only place on earth that the entire family felt comfortable and normal during those crazy years of treatment,” said Ann and John, who also have two daughters. “We will never forget how much it meant to us and we are always trying to make sure that other families are aware that such an amazing place is up in Maine.”
When: Saturday, March 5, 2016; Registration begins at 11am; Dip is at 12pm
Where: James Caples Beach, Amityville, NY
About Camp Sunshine
Founded in 1984, Camp Sunshine provides retreats combining respite, recreation and support, while enabling hope and promoting joy, for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families through the various stages of a child’s illness.
Camp Sunshine is the only program in the nation offered year-round with the distinction of having been designed to serve the entire family in a retreat model. The program is free of charge to families and includes on-site medical and psychosocial support. Bereavement sessions are also offered for families who have experienced the death of a child from a supported illness. www.campsunshine.org