Do you remember the Beatle Song “When I am Sixty-Four? When that song came out in 1967 Canada turned 100 and I turned 13 – so 64 was a long way off. Canada is now 150 and well I am 64. And once again I defied my vision of what 64 looks like.
This past weekend over 95 people jumped into the freezing waters of Lake Ramsey to support Special Olympics in the Annual Polar Plunge. Sudbury exceeded their goal of $20,000 – online the total was $21,672, however cash donations are yet to be added. Special Olympics Ontario is a non-profit organization that helps provide quality sports and training programs for children, youth and adults with an intellectual disability. This year I jumped with 3 members of CYAC (Chief’s Youth Advisory Council) Radhika, Nisa and Ericha. Thanks to my personal sponsors I raised $1,100 and all I can say is WOW!! Thank you so much.
I am pretty sure I was the oldest jumper. I had a chuckle when my cousin noticed the others in the picture I sent looked like they were in their 20s and when I confirmed her observation she asked what did that tell me? My response was I can keep up with 20-year olds, lol. Do I recommend that 64-year-old people jump into the freezing waters of the Lake Ramsey? No, that choice belongs to each person no matter what age they are.
There were a number of reasons I chose to jump.
The most frequent reason for me doing any of the things I do in this decade, I literally defy the vision of 60 that was imprinted when the Beatles’ song made its debut.
Leila wanted me to jump because two years ago when a group of us from our unit jumped she missed it. This year she saw firsthand her TiTi jump. What I do models for Leila, this was another opportunity to show going outside your comfort zone, pushing your perceived boundaries can result in stronger resolve to keep moving forward.
CYAC decided they wanted to jump and as their advisor I thought it was important to be with them. Demonstrating generations together make a difference.
And of course, the reason for freezing is worthwhile.
Now do you think jumping was easy?
Two sets of parents came to support their children. Their worry about their child’s safety was blatantly evident and I loved them for it. What was also blatantly obvious was their support of their children. Their concern didn’t interfere with their child’s goal to be a part of the Polar Plunge. Evidence as to why the young people I work with are who they are, and I love them for it.
·One of the members of the team was more than a little nervous about going into the water as she was not a strong swimmer. I brought her to the paramedics and the rescue firefighters for reassurance. Do you remember a time you were frightened, really frightened for your safety? This is what it was like for her. Kudos for successfully jumping.
There are times I question my thinking and saying yes; this was one of them. The young woman who was nervous about jumping in was jumping with me. I promised her I would keep her safe and would help her out of the water. Together we held hands as we moved towards the hole. I could hear people in the crowd chanting my name increasing my resolve that I would overcome my hesitancy to jump and then we were there….I froze on the spot on the ice in my bare feet. Yikes! What now! No worries, my partner pushed me in. I swam to the ladder to discover she was still standing outside the hole. The announcer was funny “You pushed her in, so now you have to jump.” I promised her I would help her, so I remained in the water until she jumped reaching out with an arm to wave her in with words of encouragement. Another member of the team came to her side and together they jumped. I didn’t leave my post until I knew she was safe.
Yes, I was in the water a little longer than anticipated, however I wasn’t going anywhere until she was safe because that is what I promised. During that time the water wasn’t cold, in fact the water and the ladder were nonexistent, the only focus was her. A reminder, the body will respond to what is needed and for that I am grateful. We all jumped successfully ending our experience with a group hug. And now we are closer having lived the Polar Plunge.
Take time this week to support someone push through a fear.