Grand County nonprofit Taking Steps for Cancer to host first Spirit Polar Plunge |

Grand County nonprofit Taking Steps for Cancer to host first Spirit Polar Plunge

Bust out your swim trunks and costumes, because there’s a new polar plunge coming to the county to help raise money for a great cause.

Taking Steps for Cancer, a Grand County based non-profit dedicated to assisting those afflicted with the disease, is hosting the first annual Spirit Polar Plunge in Grand Lake on June 24.

“We used to just do a 5K to raise money, but every year the need has gone up,” said Judy Eberly, co-chair of Taking Steps for Cancer. “So we decided to introduce a couple of new events in addition to the 5K to help raise enough money to service everyone we can. We’re calling it the Spirit Polar Plunge because Grand Lake has been nicknamed Spirit Lake. But we also wanted to reflect the incredible spirit of everyone affected by cancer, and those who want to help them out.”

One hundred percent of the profits that Taking Steps for Cancer raises is donated into cancer related services at Mountain Family Center, which oversees and allocates the funds.

Eberly said that each individual or family who qualifies for assistance is given $2,500 in monetary assistance. Between 30 and 40 families receive funds each year. Help comes in many different forms, and the fund is meant to address issues that insurance cannot.

“The money helps in several different ways,” said Eberly. “We do transportation to and from doctors in Denver and Steamboat, we take care of lodging needs, meals and pharmacy needs. So even though our money often doesn’t pay for treatment, it does pay for real life needs that people have.”

There are also several ways to participate in the plunge. Registration has already begun, and will close on June 10. Participants can sign up to plunge for just $25, or sign up to be a “chicken” for $30. Chicken tickets are for those who would like to attend, and make a donation to the cause, but either can’t or won’t take the plunge into the lake.

“They can still make their donation to Mountain Family Center, and they don’t have to get in the water,” said Eberly. “They can just laugh at the rest of us.”

There are also 125 pre-party tickets available, which give access to the pre-party at the Western Riviera Event Center in Grand Lake, with catering by Bare Bones BBQ and music by Martin and Taylor. Pre-party tickets are $40 for plungers and $50 for chickens. Everyone who pre-registers will also get a T-shirt commemorating the event.

On top of registration fees, Taking Steps for Cancer is encouraging participants to collect pledges from friends and family for their participation. Pledge sheets can be picked up at Mountain Family Center, or donors can make pledges online at the Mountain Family Center website.

The pre-party begins at noon, and the plunge will begin at 3 p.m. Children planning to participate must be accompanied by a family member or friend at least 16-years-old. Costumes are also encouraged.

“We really want to do something that appeals to a lot of people,” said Eberly. “If you’ve been suffering with cancer, you need some high spots in your life. And we think that people will really feel a sense of camaraderie working together for a great cause, and have a little bit of fun while they’re doing it.”

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