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Fundraising Participants Bracing for Frigid Ocean Plunge on Saturday in Huntington

HUNTINGTON – Participants in the Long Island Polar Dip on Saturday will plunge into Long Island Sound to raise money to send more New York families to Camp Sunshine.

The March 1 fundraising event will test the mettle of participants who must dip into near freezing ocean waters at Crab Meadow Beach in Huntington, N.Y. Registration begins at noon with the plunge set for 1 p.m.

Camp Sunshine is a one-of-a-kind national retreat in Casco, Maine for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families. The Long Island Polar Dip partners with CrowdRise to make it easier to unite, support and fundraise for Camp Sunshine. To donate online, start, form or join a team, visit http://www.crowdrise.com/LongIslandPolarDip2014. For more information, call (207) 655-3800.

Organizers have set a goal to raise $20,000 – enough to send 10 New York families to Camp Sunshine (www.campsunshine.org). Each participant who raises at least $100 in pledges for Camp Sunshine will receive a coveted “I DID IT!” t-shirt.

Crab Meadow Beach is located at the end of Waterside Avenue in Huntington Township on Long Island’s North Shore. The area features a boardwalk, playground and restaurant.

“This polar dip on Long Island will raise funds for Camp Sunshine and help more families from that area take advantage of our services,” said Michael Smith, Camp Sunshine’s Director of Special Events. “The reality of this event is that the discomfort our plungers feel for just a moment will never compare to what our families go through during the course of their child’s illness.”

He added, “It’s for the families and children that we plunge – we call it Freezin’ for a Reason.”

Those unable or not willing to submerge in near-freezing water can still participate in the Chicken Dip. Chicken dippers are still required to raise the minimum of $100 to participate, but only need to get their feet wet – a perfect opportunity for some of Camp Sunshine’s children to take part, Smith said.

Nestled alongside the shores of beautiful Sebago Lake in Casco, Maine, Camp Sunshine (www.campsunshine.org) offers children with life-threatening illnesses and their families a place to relax together for a week and to take a break from the extraordinary demands placed on them on a daily basis.

The year-round program is free of charge and staffed almost entirely by volunteers.  It is the only program in the nation whose mission is to address the impact of a life-threatening illness on every member of the immediate family.

Since the opening of the Camp’s year-round campus in 2001, more ill children and their families have come from New York than any other state in the nation. In 2013, 148 families from New York, many from Long Island, attended the Camp.  Even with multiple sessions being added annually at Camp Sunshine, there are still many more children from New York being newly diagnosed each year, Smith said.

Camp Sunshine’s program continues to be recommended by the following New York treatment centers: Mount Sinai Medical Center, Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center, Schneider's Children’s Hospital, Children’s Hospital at Montefiore, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York University Medical Center, Brooklyn Hospital Center, Westchester Medical Center,  Stony Brook Medical Center, and numerous others.

About Camp Sunshine
Camp Sunshine is a year-round retreat, which provides respite, support, joy, and hope to children with life-threatening illnesses and their families through various stages of a child’s illness. The program is free of charge to all families, and includes 24-hour on-site medical and psychosocial support. Bereavement groups are also offered for families who have lost a child to an illness. To support Camp Sunshine, call (207) 655-3800 or visit www.campsunshine.org.

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