Twenty-four Relayers ‘take the plunge’ to stamp our cancer
NEW CUMBERLAND – Twenty-four people representing four Relay for Life events braved 20-degree temperatures to jump into the chilly water of Atwood Lake March 11 as part of the Polar Bear Plunge.
Participants were from Carroll, Stark and Tuscarawas counties.
John Barnett was the oldest participant. At 67 years old, Barnett said he was “taking the plunge” in honor of friends and family.
“I have several friends with cancer and I know several survivors,” he said after his “dip” in the 40-degree water. “Some of them aren’t healthy right now. I am healthy and I can do this so I am.”
Clad in a pair of shorts, no shirt or shoes, Barnett waited until he heard the American Cancer Society staff partner shout “taking the plunge!” before he took off running down the beach at Atwood Lake Park and plunged into the water.
“The water wasn’t that cold,” he said. “It was after I got out that it was cold.”
Barnett represented the Carroll County Board of Elections and the Carroll County Relay for Life.
Nikki Rummell, 14, a member of the Wings of Hope Relay team, decided the Wednesday before the event, she was going to raise $250. She made a video and put it on Facebook that evening. On Saturday, she had over $400 in sponsorship money to turn in. She is continuing to collect pledges. She represented the Carroll County Relay.
Cancer survivor Angie Menarcheck, also a member of Wings of Hope team, took the plunge as well. She served as a guide down the beach and into the water for Sean Shawler of Carrollton, who is blind. Sean used a “Can you spare a dollar?” campaign to raise $187.
Becky Rainsberger and Tracy Carlton also participated for the Carroll County Relay for Life along with other members of the Wings of Hope team.
Tuscarawas County Commissioners Chris Abbuhl and Joe Sciarretti were favorites with the crowd when then jumped into the water. They helped raise $1,700 for the Tuscarawas County Relay for Life.
According to American Cancer Society Staff Partner Eric Baker, jumpers from Carroll and Stark counties turned in on-site donations of $1,000. He said online donations will boost the totals.
The Carroll County Relay for Life is scheduled May 20 at the Carroll County Fairgrounds.