Ready, set, jump-if you dare

Published on January 21st, 2011 5:33 pm


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One member the Seward Mustang staff and Seward Coast Guard Auxiliary takes a flying leap as her sidekick contemplates her fate. (ROY CORRAL, Alaska Newspapers

Gamechicks Leah Sommer, bottom, and James Graff, top, manage to hold on to their wigs after taking the plunge. (ROY CORRAL, Alaska Newspapers

Three plungers get an approving roar from the crowd gathered on the boardwalk. (ROY CORRAL, Alaska Newspapers


Ever hear that expression, go jump into a lake?

Over 100 gutsy folks will do just that this Saturday, only instead of jumping into the lake they'll jump into Resurrection Bay at the 2011 Polar Bear Jump-Off Festival.

The average water temperature for the jump hovers in the 30s. The average air weather condition is another matter.

According to festival records, jumps have taken place in single digit temperatures.

Can you say brrrrrrrr?

This year's master of ceremonies is Henry Huizenga and Steve Stripling.

Water support will be provided by the Seward Fire Department and Seward Ambulance Corps.

Special guest jumper is polar bear researcher (for the animals, not the jumpers) Steven Amstrup.

Jumpers take the leap to raise money for the American Cancer Society.

According to the American Cancer Society, approximately 1.5 million will be diagnosed with cancer this year.

Many of the jumpers have fought cancer, know someone fighting cancer or have lost friends and family to cancer. And almost everyone has a story.

Amanda Lois Hesser is jumping in memory of Tony Collins (brain cancer), Barbara Grisham (neuroenocrine carcinoma), Wayne Stuckey (pancreatic cancer) and in honor of her father, David Horst, a colon cancer survivor.

Mike Kubik of the YAOzers team is leaping for former team jumper Marc Piwko, who died of cancer in 2008.

Kyle Kain, part of the Three Amigo's team, is ready to shed is raingear and swim with the fish, or at least that's what he says on the ACS Jump-Off page. Kain is taking the plunge for his Grandma Mary, who died from lunch cancer, his great-Grandma Georgina, who died from stomach cancer, his Grandma Wilma, a breast cancer survivor and his Uncle Tim, a leukemia survivor.

"There are many, many more who are affected by cancer," he wrote on his Webpage. "I want it to stop!"

And Susheela Roach of the Seward Five team is almost giddy about the prospect of flinging herself into freezing waters to raise money for cancer survivors and research.

"Yes, I'm doing it again!" she wrote on her team's Webpage. "For the 10th year in a row I will be jumping willingly into ice-cold Resurrection Bay in January."

The stories are enough to warm anyone's heart, even those brave enough to pull on silly costumes, raise their arms in triumph, let out a blood-curling holler, and jump.

Seward Phoenix Log Staff can be reached at, or by phone at 907-224-3972

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Copyright 2011

The Seward Phoenix LOG is a publication of Alaska Newspapers, Inc. This article is © 2011 and limited reproduction rights for personal use are granted for this printing only. This article, in any form, may not be further reproduced without written permission of the publisher and owner, including duplication for not-for-profit purposes. Portions of this article may belong to other agencies; those sections are reproduced here with permission and Alaska Newspapers, Inc. makes no provisions for further distribution.