Jan 23 2018

2018 Polar Plunge

By Mimi Wood, Staff Writer for Island Eye News

Photos by Steve Rosamilia 

“I can’t feel my hands or my feet,” Skylar Hamill.

It wasn’t the absolute coldest Polar Bear Plunge that Sullivan’s Island Town Administrator, Andy Benke, can remember… easy for him to say; he didn’t dip this year. Not to besmirch his “man points,” he did surf two days prior, admittedly “with the benefit of a wetsuit.” Wetsuits were an anomaly among the estimated 1000 participants in the 25th Annual Sullivan’s Island Polar Bear Plunge, who certainly earned their bragging rights on January 1, 2018, with the air temperature hovering right around freezing. Balmy, in retrospect, given the frigid week that followed…not so much if you plunged. “I can’t feel my hands or my feet,” chattered Skylar Hamill of Mt. Pleasant, yet with the next breath, “it was fabulous!” Judging by the animated faces emerging from the 55 degree water, Hamill’s sentiment was pervasive. Katie Quinn Abraham, a first-time plunger, noted “it was cold, but exhilarating. It was a totally positive experience, almost like a ‘cleanse’.” Seven-year veteran Melissa Doyle agreed, exclaiming, “It’s a refreshing way to start the year off right!” Dunleavy’s Pub sponsors the annual event, which benefits Special Olympics South Carolina. According to Sandye Williams, Director of Marketing & Development, SO-SC, this year’s event on tiny Sullivan’s raised $25,000 “almost to the penny,” helping support programs for local athletes like Stevie Betros. Betros, declaring “it’s too cold for me!”, traveled cattywampus from Florida to Washington in 2017, winning a gold medal in each state, as part of a Special Olympics National Invitational Golf Tournament. “Bill Dunleavy’s efforts have raised a lot of money over the years,” offers Rusty Williamson, 2018 being his 21st plunge. “Trust me, I really had to talk myself into this year’s plunge, knowing what the weather was supposed to be. But, it’s all about the Special Olympics.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.