MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – Dozens of people lined up along the beach and ran straight into the cold water on Saturday for the Polar Bear Plunge. It was the Wyndham SeaWatch Plantation’s 7th year hosting the event in support of the American Cancer Society.
“It was colder than any of the previous years that I had done it.” “Took my breath away when I dove in to that wave.” “Sort of refreshing.” Those were some of the initial reactions from plungers right after they braved the waves.
“I think it’s a great way to start the New Year. You just jump in the freezing cold water. It just feels amazing,” says Melanie Trexler. She drove down all the way from Charlotte for the plunge, and says she looks for one to participate in every year. Like many others out in the water on Saturday, she says the American Cancer Society is a cause is near and dear to her heart. “My mom’s a survivor, so I think it’s important”, she says.
Temperature wasn’t the only number that didn’t matter at the event. Bray Young is 89 years old making him the oldest plunger to participate on Saturday. He says there’s a special reason he hasn’t missed a plunge the last 12 years. “Very important. My wife died of cancer. This just kinda got to be a habit. Something fun to do.”
The American Cancer Society says the money they raise from the plunge will have a direct impact on cancer patients. Community Manager Troy Matheny says, the money goes to “a lot more things than just the research. We have the wigs that ladies can get at our office, when they’re going through chemotherapy. We have our look good, feel better program where they go for two hours with a licensed cosmetologist.”
And if you think the 50 degree water scared off today’s plungers, think again. Wayne Buxton of Aiken says “I’ve climbed mountains. This is just the ocean end of it. We’ll do it again next year.”