Posted by: sonewjersey | March 15, 2010

Guest Post: Kelli Tobin (First Time Plunger!)

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I truly believe that everything in life happens for a reason…
 
Myself and Chris
I remember when my one of my closest friends, Zach Gallagher, sent out the email for the 2009 Special Olympics’ Polar Bear Plunge well over a year ago.  I thought he was crazy! To jump in the ocean in February was just a nutty idea, but I of course, whole heartedly supported the cause.  I never would have guessed that while I stood on the beach that February day, supporting him and friends as they jumped in the 30-something degree water, that the baby I was carrying had an extra chromosome.  I will say one thing though, I was certainly emotional as I watched all of those people plunging to support the Special Olympics.
 
In April 2009, Colin blessed our family as he arrived into this world.  We found out shortly after his birth that he more than likely had Down Syndrome and it was a shock to say the least.  However, we could not have been more lucky than to have such an amazing support system in our family and friends who rallied around us and assured us that Colin would enrich our lives.  Of course at the time it was hard to look past our fears and insecurities about raising a baby who had special needs….but that would slowly change over time. 
Colin
 
One of those special friends, Jorie Gallagher, asked and then told me that this year, in honor of Colin, we were going to participate in the Polar Bear Plunge as a team.  She waited patiently until the 1st day of registration and immediately signed us up.  We were unsure what to start our goal at and finally decided on $3,000 with a goal of 30 team members.  By plunge day, we raised just under $35,000 with a team of 52 plungers and well over that with plunge day supporters! 
Chris & Myself with Jorie and Zach
 
Plunge day was an emotional day for my husband Chris and I as we watched so many family, friends, and new friends gather together with us as a united CAT Crew and plunged in honor of Colin and for all of the many people that greatly benefit from such a great organization in the Special Olympics.  We were honored to participate in such an event and to contribute towards the $1,000,000 that was raised!
 
As I jumped in, I thought of so many things.  Yes it was cold….but it was the most amazing experience to do something that wasn’t comfortable in honor of Colin. It meant more than just jumping in…it signifies what we have overcome to get to this point and all of the things we will face along the way. As we did with Colin when his diagnosis of Down Syndrome was confirmed…you just jump in. It might take your breath away, it might shock you, and it might even make you feel a little panicky….but you realize that it’s all worth it and feels pretty damn good…
 

CAT Crew

 

Check out their family’s blog of their journey at http://loveforcolin.blogspot.com.  Stop by and visit them!

 

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