Fundraising Participants Bracing for Frigid Ocean Plunge on Saturday in Long Branch

Don't miss A.J. New Jersey Polar Dip tomorrow (Feb. 8) in Long Branch
Don't miss A.J. New Jersey Polar Dip tomorrow (Feb. 8) in Long Branch

LONG BRANCH – Participants in A.J.’s New Jersey Polar Dip on Saturday (Feb. 8) will plunge into the frigid Atlantic Ocean to raise money to send more New Jersey families to Camp Sunshine.

The Feb. 8 fundraising event will test the mettle of participants who must dip into near-freezing ocean waters at the Avenue Beach Club, located at 23 Ocean Ave. in Long Branch. Registration begins at 11 a.m. with the plunge set for noon.

Camp Sunshine is a one-of-a-kind national retreat in Maine for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families. A.J.’s New Jersey Polar Dip partners with  CrowdRise to make it easier to fundraise. To donate online, form or join a team, visit http://www.crowdrise.com/AJsNewJerseyPolarDip2014. For more information, call (207) 655-3800.

Organizers have set a goal to raise more than $75,000 – enough to send 35 New Jersey 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.

“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,” said Michael Smith, Camp Sunshine’s Director of Special Events. “It’s for the families and children that we plunge...we call it Freezin for a Reason.”

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.

Camp Sunshine’s program continues to be recommended by the following New Jersey treatment centers: Hackensack University Medical Center, Monmouth Medical Center, Morristown Memorial Hospital, Newark Beth Israel Medical Center, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School/The Cancer Institute of New Jersey, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital/The Cancer Institute of New Jersey, and St. Barnabas Hospital.

Who is A.J.?

A.J. Cincotta-Eichenfield was literally born into Camp Sunshine. The son of Psychosocial Director Nancy Cincotta and Medical Director Andrew Eichenfield, he is as much a part of Camp Sunshine as the walls. A.J. has seen thousands of families with ill children come through the doors of Camp Sunshine and has made many friends along the way. One day in late February, A.J. decided to do something to help support even more families, creating a polar dip. He began asking family and friends to pledge to his plunge, and support for the most famous face at Camp Sunshine snowballed. A.J.’s New Jersey Polar Dip has already raised $299,000 in its short history.

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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