Divers plunge into ocean for Jimmy Fund at Wollaston Beach

·3 min read

QUINCY – In the rain and 45 degree weather, dozens of divers dug their feet into the sand and ran toward Quincy Bay during Saturday's second annual North Quincy Polar Plunge.

Trudging through the cold water, participants stepped into the rolling waves of Wollaston Beach with grins and grimaces.

This was the first polar plunge for 11-year-old Kori Dumas, but she came prepared with a fuzzy robeto keep her warm.

Under the fuzzy robe, she wore a banana costume to participate in the event's costume contest.

Kathy Gudejko steps out of the cold ocean water at Wollaston Beach on Saturday, Jan. 1, 2022, after participating in the North Quincy Polar Plunge.
Kathy Gudejko steps out of the cold ocean water at Wollaston Beach on Saturday, Jan. 1, 2022, after participating in the North Quincy Polar Plunge.

"I'm nervous, because I don't want to be cold after," she said shortly before taking the plunge, although she looked forward to completing it and do some bragging.

"I want to rub it in people's faces when I get out."

Her mother, Siobhan Dumas, said it was Kori's first time, but she and her other daughter had jumped into the ocean last year.

"It's kind of bragging rights," the mother said, "for them to say they did it."

North Quincy Polar Plunge divers run out of the water at Wollaston Beach on Saturday, Jan. 1, 2022.
North Quincy Polar Plunge divers run out of the water at Wollaston Beach on Saturday, Jan. 1, 2022.

Polar plunge organizer Danny Gilmartin said he wanted to bring friends and family together on New Year's Day for a fun, memorable dip into the chilly ocean waters.

When he was thinking about how to motivate people to actually take the leap, he decided to do it for charity.

Happy New Year: First South Shore Hospital baby of 2022 born to Kingston resident

Santa paws: Dog holiday party benefits Quincy Animal Shelter

In 2020, participating divers and their supporters who stayed on land to cheer them on, donated to the O'Connor family, of North Quincy, because father and husband Chris O'Connor had recently died. About 150 people participated, Gilmartin said, and the event raised about $3,000.

This year, donations are going to the Jimmy Fund, which began in Boston in 1948 to benefit the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Organizer Dan Gilmartin speaks to the crowd of more than 50 people who attended the North Quincy Polar Plunge at Wollaston Beach on Saturday, Jan. 1, 2022.
Organizer Dan Gilmartin speaks to the crowd of more than 50 people who attended the North Quincy Polar Plunge at Wollaston Beach on Saturday, Jan. 1, 2022.

Gilmartin said he has a personal connection to the Jimmy Fund as his younger brother died from cancer about 30 years ago when he was 12 years old.

"He went in remission for a couple years and so we're in and out of Children's Hospital," he said. "I remember vividly, they do great work. Very, very helpful.

"They make a tough time a little less tough," he said.

Buckets were set up around the beach for donations and there were T-shirts and chances to win prizes from local stores. Gilmartin said on Saturday he didn't know yet how much money this year's event raised.

Despite the dreary weather and the recent surge in COVID-19, which Gilmartin said he thought might have reduced the crowd, many still came out to support the Jimmy Fund and take a dip in the bay.

A Quincy police scuba unit officer wades into the chilly water during the second annual North Quincy Polar Plunge on Saturday, Jan. 1, 2022.
A Quincy police scuba unit officer wades into the chilly water during the second annual North Quincy Polar Plunge on Saturday, Jan. 1, 2022.

Bill McCallum said he participated in the polar plunge to get rid of some of his demons of 2021 and in memory of his son.

His son, Christopher McCallum, died after a fight at Nickerson American Legion Post in Squantum in January 2019. Matthew Potter, of Weymouth, was found guilty by a jury of involuntary manslaughter and sentenced to between three to four years in prison.

McCallum, dressed as a Raggedy Ann doll, was soaked but happy after diving into the ocean.

"I feel great, I really do," McCallum said with a towel draped around his neck. "I feel better now than when I went in."

Thanks to our subscribers, who help make this coverage possible. If you are not a subscriber, please consider supporting quality local journalism with a Patriot Ledger subscription. Here is our latest offer.

Reach Alex Weliever at aweliever@patriotledger.com.

This article originally appeared on The Patriot Ledger: North Quincy Polar Plunge at Wollaston Beach benefits Jimmy Fund

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting