This week, staff writer Laura Rysz talks with Patrick Schofield about Splashin’ with Compassion, which raises money to support young people battling cancer in Northeast Pennsylvania.
Professional background: Anesthesiologist and critical care physician
Q: What was the inspiration for this event?
A: The polar plunge — Splashin’ with Compassion — was founded by Friends of Shannon McDonough in 2014. As the name implies, this nonprofit organization was inspired by Shannon McDonough, a Scranton native who passed away from colon cancer at age 23. In honor of Shannon, this event was organized to bring the community together in support of young individuals battling cancer here in Northeast Pennsylvania.
Q: Explain how the fundraiser works.
A: The event is free to attend, but if interested in taking the plunge, then a $35 donation applies. As the event is funded almost exclusively by community donors and sponsors, this ensures that your contribution goes entirely to those in need.
Q: How has the polar plunge grown over the past couple of years?
A: The inaugural polar plunge was held at Montage Mountain in a small, concrete pool in the waterpark. In the ensuing years, Montage Mountain has invested significant manpower into building a single-use, in-ground pool made by snow excavation — the water is ice-cold. The number of attendees — both plungers and spectators — continues to rise each and every year, and more importantly, the number of lives touched through this event continues to rise as well.
Q: What else will be on hand at the event?
A: If you’re not interested in taking the plunge, then you can join the hundreds of spectators alongside the pool for a fun-filled day. In addition to nearly two dozen plunges, there will be basket raffles galore, entertainment provided by DJ John Culkin and an outdoor ski-up bar serving both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. It’s sure to be a great time for all ages.
Q: How will proceeds be used?
A: All proceeds from this event go directly into the hands of young individuals battling cancer in Northeast Pennsylvania. Thus far, Friends of Shannon McDonough has donated to 46 people since its inaugural polar plunge. Do you have friends, family members or patients that may benefit from our support? If so, then please contact us today, as we may be able to help.
If you go
What: Seventh annual Polar Plunge (Splashin’ with Compassion)
When: Saturday, Jan. 25, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Where: Montage Mountain Resorts, 1000 Montage Mountain Road
Details: The event is free to attend, but plunging costs $35. All proceeds benefit young people battling cancer in Northeast Pennsylvania. For more information, visit friendsofshannonmcdonough.com or the Facebook event page.
Laura Rysz is the features copy editor and calendar editor at The Times-Tribune and runs the Talk of the Times column, which focuses on local fundraisers and other events. She also writes Chef’s Table that profiles restaurants around the region. Additionally, Laura curates events online on AccessNEPA.com. Laura is involved in the special Mother’s Day edition and curates occasional features Marry Memories and Times Travelers. She is a graduate of Haddonfield Memorial High School, New Jersey, and earned an English professional writing degree with a minor in mass communications from King’s College, Wilkes-Barre. She also earned a certificate in Social Media Marketing from Rutgers Business School. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; 570-348-9100 x5228.