Rotarians Take the Polar Plunge for Polio Prevention

Rotary's Polar Plungers: from left, Bill Tarpey, Deanna O’Dwyer Swenson, Kate Marie Roycroft, Hannah Johnston
Rotary’s Polar Plungers: from left, Bill Tarpey, Deanna O’Dwyer Swenson, Kate Marie Roycroft, Hannah Johnston

Four members of the Melrose Rotary Club may want to don their fur-lined swimsuits to participate in Rotary District 7930’s sixth annual Polar Plunge at Long Beach in Gloucester, on Saturday, February 4, at 11:5 AM.

The brave Rotarians are Hannah Johnston of Brad Hutchinson Real Estate; Deanna O’Dwyer Swenson, DC, of Melrose Family Chiropractic and Sports Injury Centre; Bill Tarpey, of Tarpey Insurance; and Kate Marie Roycroft, Director of Public Policy at the Alliance of Massachusetts YMCAs.

Dubbed “Freezin’ for a Reason,” the Plunge is a fund raiser aimed at helping to eradicate polio from the planet –in our lifetime.

More than 300 people are expected to plunge into the cold waters off Cape Ann this year. Last year, over 250 people braved the icy waters, raising more than $98,000 and welcoming Rotarians, friends, and family members from over 45 Rotary Clubs.

Since 1985, Polio has become the signature cause for Rotary International, as it has teamed up with partners including The Global Poverty Project, The Global Eradication Initiative, The World Health Organization, and The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Since that time, more than a billion dollars have been raised among Rotary clubs worldwide and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

When Rotary International took on the battle against this disease, more than 350,000 people spanning 125 countries were impacted. Today there are three countries left where it has not been eradicated: Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria.

This year, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has again pledged a 2:1 match for every dollar Rotarians raise toward eradication efforts (up to $35 million/year until 2018). For as little as $0.60, a donation can make the difference in changing a person’s life.

The Melrose Rotarians are hoping to raise a record amount of money for polio eradication. Anyone who would like to offer support for their chilly efforts can visit the website:, and click the link to the donations page.


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