A Plunge Worth Freezing For

New Year’s Day won’t ever be confused with a day at the beach in this part of the world. Just don’t tell that to the 100-plus brave souls who took part in Ray’s Plunge and dipped into the 35-degree water January 1 at Oakland Beach.

The plunge, named for Rye’s Ray Kelly, helped raise over $6,000 for MAC’s Angels in their fight against Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. MAC’s Angels is the non-profit organization that was formed when The Mary Ann Collier Foundation and Friends of Claire joined forces.

Kelly first took the “plunge” on a dare ten years ago. His friend, Phil Gormley, joined him the next year and the tradition continued as an event to benefit assorted causes. When Gormley’s sister, Claire Collier, was diagnosed with ALS in 2003, the annual dive became a way to assist in her fight against the disease.

Ray Kelly and Phil Gormley

The 2011 event was the largest ever, with over 500 spectators cheering and supporting the cause. Claire Collier, who died in 2009, would have been proud.

“There’s no other feeling in the world like being surrounded by love and support for a common cause, and to keep Claire’s legacy and inspiration alive and kicking,” said Gormley. “Claire was smiling for sure. She loved the human spirit and had an enthusiasm for life. Every day was a present.”

To view a video feature on Ray’s Plunge created by Tony Coash, go to http://www.coash.com/2011RaysPlunge/index.html.


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