By Seth Short
This will be my fifth year plunging. Our team started out as team "Pleasant Winter" as a way for my good friend Jeff Boswell to honor his father, Dr James Boswell (Pilgrim Animal Hospital), who passed away from cancer, and for me to honor my mother, Moneen Short, who was an elementary school guidance counselor in Plymouth and passed away from cancer.
We named our team "Pleasant Winter" as I grew up on Mt Pleasant Street and Jeff grew up on Winter Street and we thought it had a nice ring to it.
Jeff was actually the first of our friends to plunge with this being his sixth year. Our parents both received treatment at Jordan Hospital and it was a natural way to support the tremendous efforts and care provided by the Jordan Hospital Cancer Center. Not only does it provide an opportunity to raise funds and awareness for our local hospital but also for us all to celebrate those family members and friends who have either fought this disease or are currently fighting cancer. It is a wonderful event that I know all of our team members look forward to every winter.
We changed our team name to Malia's Manatees in honor of my good friends Glen and Megan Jusczyk's daughter Malia who is fighting neuroblastoma. Malia was diagnosed at age two and a half and the Jusczyks had to relocate from Florida to Massachusetts to get Malia the treatment she needed. Malia underwent a stem cell transplant, had a kidney removed and experienced numerous rounds of chemotherapy and radiation but ultimately her tremendous attitude and strength were rewarded with the news that she has achieved remission after being given a 40% chance of survival. This is a disease she will have to fight her entire life and Malia is currently one of seven children worldwide enrolled in a clinical trial to continue helping her to "crush" her cancer. Malia's story can be found at www.maliacrushescancer.com where support for Malia's fight can also be provided.
Malia's story is so motivational and inspiring that we knew we wanted to change our team name to help bring awareness to Malia's fight as well as continue to raise money in memory and honor of our loved ones and friends. Thus Malia's Manatees was born. Malia will be at the Plunge this year to accept the fundraising trophy for a group of 11-20 plungers that Malia's Manatees won last year. We can't wait to see her face as she receives the trophy. Such an amazing little girl and family.
Our team originally was made up of a group of close friends and over the years has grown to include additional friends, family members and coworkers. Each year, the team grows by a couple of brave souls looking to take the plunge and help bring awareness and raise funds for the Jordan Hospital Cancer Club.
My mother loved the people at the Jordan Hospital Cancer Center and always said she felt like everyone truly cared about her and her fight. The big hospitals in Boston often get much of the press and credibility when it comes to cancer treatment but thankfully because of events like the Polar Plunge our community realizes there is now a state of the art cancer treatment center in our backyard with the most cutting edge technology, highly skilled professionals and caring employees you can find anywhere.