Leprechauns take a plunge for charity

SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. (WWLP) – Only a very worthwhile cause could coax dozens of people to jump into the Connecticut River on a very cold day. 22News explains why so many here in western Massachusetts willingly took the Leprechaun Plunge.

They shivered with joy at Brunelle’s Marina in South Hadley, knowing they’d be raising many thousands of dollars for community agencies ranging from the South Hadley Food Pantry to the Springfield Shriners Hospital. Susan Jensen of Springfield raised money for the Dana Farber Jimmy Fund in memory of her late grandson.

“I’m here for team Luke which is he was diagnosed with liver and lung cancer in December and he passed away on March 5th. He was 17 months old and I’m here to jump for my grandson Luke,” said Jensen.

The Leprechaun Plunge tradition began modestly five years ago. Ray Morin is one of the organizers.

“Within two months time in that first year we thought it was just going to be a little bit, , but we came up with 87 plungers the first year and it’s just grown ever since,” said Morin.

22News Storm Team Meteorologist Adam Strzempko served as the event’s master of ceremonies for the second consecutive year. Adam said he admires the event’s purpose as well as the people taking the plunge in such cold weather.

“It’s so cold put there today but at least we have the sunshine. The crowd is amazing, a lot of people did turn out to find out how cold it is, the water temperature is in the low thirties, these people are diehards this is for a great cause,” said Strzempko.

For their bone chilling efforts, these leprechaun plungers helped raise at least as much as the $93,000 they raised a year ago. The hundreds who decided to stay dry cheered on the hearty souls who spent a memorable late winter moment splashing in the Connecticut River.

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