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ODBC Hosts 'Polar Burr Plunge'

On the first day of the new year nearly three dozen hearty souls, jumped into the frigid Potomac River from the pier of the Old Dominion Boat Club to raise money for the American Liver Foundation.

With Alexandria Fire Department EMS Marine Operations Team members standing by and a cheering crowd of onlookers filling both of the club's King Street piers, 34 plungers, clad in everything from normal bathing suits to a pair of fire-engine red long johns, in they jumped in groups of four and five. One adventurer took the plunge in a tuxedo.

The foundation raised approximately $5,500 for their research projects, according to Lora Jackson, executive director of the area chapter.

"In addition to the 34 who jumped into the river there were many more who attended the post-plunge party at the club," she said.

The event was promoted to Washington D.C., Maryland and Virginia Masters swim program, children's swim teams, high school and college swim teams and triathletes.

No actual swimming was required — participants jumped into the water, got to the ladder and exited as soon as possible, shivering into the club.

"From its earliest history, the Old Dominion Boat Club has been a continuous supporter of charitable institutions," said Chris Marino, president of the ODBC. "The recent death of one of our active member, Dave Penland, who succumbed to liver disease at age 59, inspired us to partner with the foundation in their efforts to raise awareness and funds for research."

Joining ODBC in sponsoring the event were America Online, Design Cuisine, Sport & Health Clubs, Catalyst and Arena Sport.

"Everyone's generosity in supporting our efforts to raise money will help towards life-saving research, education, and the annihilation of liver disease," said Catherine Roper, community event coordinator for the foundation.

The foundation provides research, education and advocacy for those affected by hepatitis and other liver-related diseases.