MANASQUAN — The 15th annual LADACIN Ocean Plunge last Saturday raised $70,000, which will all go to the LADACIN Network to benefit people with disabilities within Monmouth and Ocean Counties.
More than 200 plungers and supporters flocked into the Leggett’s Sand Bar at 217 First Ave. Jan. 14 prior to the plunge.
Leggett’s has been the meeting point of plungers where families and friends gather as a start-off point. 95.9 WRAT has also been its official radio that covered the event. A band dressed up in traditional Irish costumes led the parade of plungers out into the ocean.
“We have already raised $54,000 just a day before today,” said Patti Carlesimo, executive director of LADACIN, adding that the plunge has raised over $1.2 million since 2009. This figure was raised by plungers and other supporters who signed up to other donation opportunities.
LADACIN is a local nonprofit organization that provides educational, therapeutic, social, residential and support services for over 3,5000 infants, children and adults with complex physical and developmental disabilities or delays in Monmouth and Ocean Counties. It serves some 300 to 500 families at its 14 locations.
The idea of the plunge first came to Joseph Russell, Jr., a Manasquan resident, 15 years ago when he approached Ms. Carlesimo.
“It’s amazing that 15 years ago I was still a kid. I’ve taken the first plunge and I’ve been taking every plunge every single year,” Mr. Russell said. “I just see new faces every year, and they just bring in new people every year. It’s a good thing to see people get involved, and I’m trying to bring in the next generation of people, which are my kids, to get involved.”
All proceeds from the event will go to the J. Michael Hartnett Memorial, a former board member of LADACIN. His widow, Marian, organized the memorial, which was dedicated to all of LADICIN’s clients. Elizabeth Hartnett, their daughter, who was born with cerebral palsy, has been one of LADACIN’s “persons served.”
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