Over 10,000 people, many in sea-themed or super hero costumes, thronged the boardwalk and sands of Long Beach to cheer on the spirited swimmers, support this worthy cause and have fun. The event raised over $500,000 (with contributions still coming in) to grant the wishes of area children with critical illnesses. Since its inception as a fundraising event in 2000, the annual Long Beach Polar Bears Super Bowl Splash has raised an astonishing $6.3 million for Make-A-Wish Metro New York.
The February swim is held in honor of young Paulie Bradley, who passed away at age 4, in 1997, before his wish could be granted. The community-driven event has grown every year – a feat that would not have been possible without the enduring commitment of the original founding Long Beach Polar Bears – Pete and Barbara Meyers, Kevin and Judy McCarthy, and Mike and the late Patti Bradley, Paulie’s parents.
“It’s amazing to watch the energy, joy and enthusiasm of the Long Beach Polar Bears and the Long Beach community in their support of wish kids. Wishes have proven physical and emotional benefits that can lead to better health outcomes for kids with critical illnesses. The commitment and generosity of this community is making a life-changing difference for these children,” said Phil Lussier, President and CEO, Make-A-Wish Metro New York and Western New York. “We cannot thank them enough.”
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