Christie Hill prepares for her big dip in the icy cold waters of Resurrection Bay Saturday, a commitment she’s made to raise funds for fighting cancer these past 14 years.
After raising $200,000 in that many years for the American Cancer Society, Hill isn’t ready to toss in the towel yet. The Parade of Jumpers begins at 11 a.m. or so in Seward, followed by a 12:30 p.m. jump. She is No. 4 in the line-up for jumping off the dock into the bay. Called the Polar Bear Jump, fundraisers wearing colorful or crazy costumes plunge into a clearing in the waters that are more often than not lined with pack ice. Last year’s temperature was the coldest yet.
“It was 33 below last January with a wind chill,” Hill recalled. “The water temperature was 38 above – there was a huge temp difference. I frost bit both toes.”
Her toes recovered for the most part, but cold gets to them easily. “It’s not bad,” she said.
The warmest year was 49 degrees when she took the plunge.
So far this year, Hill has raised $6,000, with a goal of $10,000. One year in 2009, her best ever, she raised $16,850. Usually, Hill is in the top two for raising cancer donations each year.
Generally, Homer friends and relatives accompany Hill to Seward for the event and to cheer her on. Wasilla and Kenai Peninsula fans also arrive. It’s all for a great cause.
“I look forward to it each year for raising money to save lives. I like to believe I’m saving lives and I know the American Cancer Society does save lives,” Hill said. “Some do Relay for Life. But I like to jump. I dread the cold but it’s nothing compared to what cancer patients go through. I like to do my part in helping them get through it.”
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