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Polar Bear jumpers take plunge for charities

2/23/2012 - West Side Leader
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By Kathleen Folkerth

NEW FRANKLIN — The snow may have melted, but that didn’t mean a jump into the cold lake at Portage Lakes State Park was much easier during this year’s Polar Bear Jump. The Feb. 18 event attracted a crowd of participants and onlookers to the park, as shown at right top.

The annual event, which has raised thousands for local charities, supported three different cancer charities this year: Stewart’s Caring Place in Fairlawn, Camp Quality Ohio and the American Cancer Society.

Photos: Lew Stamp
Among those who braved the cold this year were Akron residents Gia Faetanini and Joan Lutman, who are shown at right bottom, from left, as they jump wearing fairy wings.

Uniontown resident Mandy Morrison, who added a Viking hat and socks to her swimsuit, also jumped, as pictured at left.

Kelly Pariso, who organized the event for the Portage Lakes Polar Bear Club, said 750 people took part in the ninth annual jump and helped raise $81,000, making it the most successful jump to date. “These numbers shattered all our records,” Pariso said. “It was a lot of fun.” He added that 3,000 spectators also came out for the event.

For more information on the event, go to portagelakespolarbearclub.com. 

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