Heading into its sixth year, Manasquan's annual Valentine Plunge is nothing short of an incredible cause. Each year participants from as far as Europe head to Jersey's coast and plunge into the shockingly cold Atlantic waters to collect donations for ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease).
"The initial event raised over $100,000 and we got stronger and stronger for several reasons--we lose people to this terrible disease and families see their loved ones suffer. The cause is justified to get involved and battle the disease and fight for a quality of life. Second, new people are told they are diagnosed and come into our family that way. And third, the disease has no cure. So we keep growing" said Valentine Plunge Chairman Jim O'Neil.
By raising funds, the donations can help increase the quality of life of local individuals suffering with ALS by providing wheelchairs, ramps, transportation, communication equipment and more.
"Our theme is 'jump in and feel the love'" said O'Neil. "When you go in the water, you come out and feel like you really made a difference."
The donations are also used to support and provide funding to the Joan Dancy and PALS Non-Profit organization that provides immediate assistance, services and programs that improve the quality of life for ALS patients and their families within the local community. Third, the funds are used to provide funding and to support the mission of the staytough.fightHARD organization, a public charity with goals of education, fund-raising, research support and assistance to patients and families struggling with ALS.
The plunge will take place at noon on Saturday, February 4 at Main Beach in Manasquan (end of East Main Street.) The registration location will be at Gee Gee's Family Fun Center located at the end of East Main Street.
There will be a pre-plunge party where you can pre-register, at Manasquan Beach House from 6 to 9p.m. on Friday, February 3. The party will feature entertainment, food and drinks, and will provide a chance to learn more about ALS and collect your incentives.
Anyone interested in participating can find more information at www.valentineplunge.com or can email firstname.lastname@example.org for a registration form. You can register as an individual or as a team. Join the organizaion on Facebook to get up to date info and news.