Arts & EntertainmentThe Northern Westchester Examiner

Annual Polar Plunge Returns on New Year’s Day in Peekskill

We are part of The Trust Project
Dozens of brave souls will head to the Hudson River shoreline in Peekskill on New Year’s Day to take part in the Polar Plunge. The event raises money for the This is Me Foundation, which awards scholarships to local students and raises awareness about alopecia areata.

The annual Polar Plunge benefitting the This is Me Foundation is slated to return New Year’s Day at the Peekskill Riverfront Green after a one-year absence.

The This Is Me Foundation, founded by Peekskill residents and sisters Caitlin and Lauren Brady in 2011, raises awareness about alopecia areata, an autoimmune disorder that causes hair loss, while giving hope to any individual who faces adversity.

After watching Miss Delaware 2010, Kayla Martell, take her wig off and explain that she would compete in the 2011 Miss America pageant wearing a wig, as she too had alopecia, the Brady sisters decided they needed to do something to inspire others just as Martell had done for them.

Three weeks later, on Feb. 12, 2011, This Is Me was born as a two-and-a-half-minute YouTube PSA. The video was created to not only raise awareness about alopecia, but to try and inspire others who are facing challenges.

All proceeds go directly to the This Is Me Scholarship Fund, Inspired by Ryan Risco and Cait Chivonne Polhill. The fund has awarded 89 $500 scholarships since 2012 to local students who have faced adversity or helped a friend overcome hardship, as well as national scholarships to students who have alopecia. 

This year’s event kicks off at noon on Jan. 1 and is open to the public to watch and cheer on the brave plungers. Anyone interested in plunging or donating can visit Plungers are required to register in advance by Dec. 30 to participate.

The first Polar Plunge, where participants strip down to their bathing suits and run into the frigid waters of the Hudson River, on Jan. 1, 2013, attracted 11 brave souls and raised $2,400. In 2018, a record-setting 80 participants raised more than $13,500.

For more information, or to learn more about the This Is Me Foundation and the This is Me Scholarship Fund, visit the foundation’s website at or Facebook page at

Polar Plunge in Yorktown

On Saturday, Jan. 8, the Friends of Yorktown Parks & Recreation will be holding its first Polar Bear Plunge and Silent Auction at Sparkle Lake. The event will benefit the Friends’ general fund and enable the establishment of various subcommittees to target parks and recreation activities that have a high impact on the health and wellness of residents.

Festivities will begin at 9 a.m. with a continental breakfast, with the Polar Bear Plunge at 10 a.m. Following the Plunge, winners of the silent auction, 50/50 raffle and door prizes will be announced.

We'd love for you to support our work by joining as a free, partial access subscriber, or by registering as a full access member. Members get full access to all of our content, and receive a variety of bonus perks like free show tickets. Learn more here.