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A Polar Plunge For Charity

Massapequa residents joined in the 6th annual North Hempstead Polar Plunge at North Hempstead Beach Park on Saturday. A total of 600 Long Islanders took on the plunge to benefit the Special Olympics. In total, everyone raised nearly $85,000, and they were rewarded with the feeling of accomplishment.

Massapequa residents Jaclyn Wukovitz, 25, Joe Mottola, 50, Sue Mottola, 51 and Mike Freitas, 34, from Mineola took on the plunge side-by-side. The polar bear team “H2M” raised about $5,000.

Helping athletes with disabilities was the main reason why the group decided to become one with the polar bears after discovering the bone-chilling experience in previous years.

“I am freezin’ for a reason, and I had fun at the same time. It is for a great cause, and being in the cold is worth helping others,” said Wukovitz.

Everyone agreed that diving into the ocean in 40-degree weather to support the Special Olympics was a memory worth making.

“We would do it again,” explained Sue.

Massapequa resident Aarin Hartenstein, 16, also racked up some cash for the Special Olympics, raising a totally of $820.

“My good friend has a brother who participates in the Special Olympics, so I wanted to help raise money for everyone,” Hartenstein said. “It was really cold, but I still enjoyed doing it.”

The Special Olympics New York has 61,582 athletes training and competing year-round in 22 Olympics-style sports. The athletes and their families are never charged to participate. It costs $400 to support training and competition for one athlete for one sports season. The money raised will help 212 athletes compete in one sport season.