LONG BRANCH – Fundraising efforts are underway for the eighth annual A.J.’s New Jersey Polar Dip to benefit Camp Sunshine on Saturday, Feb. 8 at the Avenue Beach Club in Long Branch.
Participants in A.J.’s New Jersey Polar Dip, many wearing costumes, will run and plunge into the chilly Atlantic Ocean to raise money to send more New Jersey families to Camp Sunshine, a one-of-a-kind national retreat in Maine for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families. Every polar dip participant is encouraged to raise a minimum of $100 in pledges.
A.J.’s New Jersey Polar Dip has again partnered with CrowdRise, a popular online fundraising platform, to make it easier for the entire community to unite, support and fundraise for Camp Sunshine. To start raising funds, form or join a team, and donate online, 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). Plungers are encouraged to create a plunge team of four or more people, consisting of co-workers and classmates and from civic groups or places of worship.
Each participant who raises at least $100 in pledges for Camp Sunshine will receive an “I DID IT!” t-shirt. The Avenue Beach Club is located at 23 Ocean Avenue in Long Branch on the upper Jersey Shore. Registration begins at 11 a.m. with the plunge set for noon.
“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.
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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