Polar plunge kicks off the new decade in Mattapoisett

Jan 1, 2020

MATTAPOISETT — Dozens dove into the new decade and supported a good cause for the eighth annual “Freezin’ For a Reason Polar Plunge” at the Mattapoisett Town Beach on New Year’s Day, 2020. 

A crowd of polar plungers gathered at the beach and braced the cold as DJ Desmond Bourne played music and counted down to the frigid dip at noon. 

The annual event started in honor of cancer survivor Will Huggins, and raises money for others battling disease, as part of the “I WILL” foundation. 

Some of the plungers know Huggins personally, and participated to support his cause. 

“Will and his family are the nicest people I know,” said Nills Johnson. He added that he would “do anything” for Huggins, including jumping into the freezing ocean. 

When asked about her motivation for participating, Rica Brodo simply said “love.” 

Brodo has plunged into the Mattapoisett waters each year since the event began in 2012. She said that to prepare herself for the cold water, her focus is “completely in the moment,” and that she doesn't have any specific routine prior to the plunge. 

Huggins’ wife Michelle was present for the polar plunge. She said her husband was diagnosed with colon cancer 12 years ago, and that the community reached out to her family to make the fundraiser a reality. 

Stephen Brodo, of the I WILL foundation gave snacks to participants as they dried off after their plunge.

While the goal of the plunge has stayed the same, he said that “every year is a little unique, and a little bit better.”  

While some were content to run in and out of the water, others had a point to prove. 

As part of a dare, 12-year-old Ella Bartholomew competed with other kids to see who could stay in the water the longest. She ended up tying with her friend Autumn Horsely for first place in the friendly competition. The two girls both endured the frigid water for six minutes before walking back to land.  

To support I WILL, see the foundation’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/iwillhuggins/

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