Weston Group To Make Frigid Plunge On New Year's Day For Make A Wish

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The TI Polar Bears will make their seventh annual "Freezin' For A Reason" polar plunge on Wednesday at Compo Beach in Westport. Photo Credit: Contributed

WESTON, Conn. – Weston’s Tom Patterson was unsure how his friends would react when he approached them seven years ago about jumping into the frigid waters Long Island Sound on New Year’s Day. Nearly a half-million fundraising dollars later, Patterson has his answer.

“Freezin’ For A Reason”  by Patterson’s TI Polar Bears will hit the water on Wednesday at 11 a.m. at Compo Beach in Westport. Patterson chose Make A Wish Foundation as this year’s charity. Readers can donate online. People can also join Patterson’s team on the day of the event.

Patterson selects a different charity each year for the Plunge. Previous beneficiaries include the Hole In The Wall Gang, and foundations fighting cerebral palsy and pancreatic cancer.

“We’ll run in, dive under the water, and get out,’’ he said.  “Everyone has their own system.”

Patterson said he and co-founder Lee Caney were at Compo on a cold November day when they started talking about doing a plunge for a fundraiser. “I sent out a note to all of my buddies,’’ Patterson said. “I wasn’t sure what they’re response would be. They all said let’s do it. Seven years later we’ve raised over $500,000.”

His team for Wednesday’s plunge includes several employees of Bartaco, a Westport restaurant. The restaurant will stay open Wednesday and offer brunch for $15 for adults and $8.50 for children who mention Make A Wish at the door.

“Every year, we see new faces,’’ Patterson said. “Since we switch charities ever year, we get new people. I think we get people who have been touched by a particular cause are more interested in supporting that charity.”

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