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Freezin’ for a Reason Returns Feb. 1

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Daredevils prepare to dive into bone-chilling lake for children with life-threatening illnesses.

It’s time for the mid-winter tradition when hundreds of individuals dressed in crazy costumes will converge on Lake Anne Plaza in Reston for the 7th Annual Freezin’ for a Reason Virginia Polar Dip on Saturday, Feb. 1. The event will kick off at 1 p.m. with family-friendly activities and warm-up — with the dip scheduled to take place starting at 2 p.m.

Each year the event draws record crowds of both spectators and jumpers raising more than $70,000. Registered participants will take a chilly full dive or a “Chicken Dip” to raise funds for Camp Sunshine, a national year-round retreat for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families.

The creation of the Virginia Polar Dip was started in 2008 by the Toth family after a long history with Camp Sunshine. They first attended Camp Sunshine as a participating family in 1996 when their daughter Jennifer was a cancer patient at age 3, and they have returned as volunteers every summer since. After Jennifer participated in a Camp Sunshine Polar Dip in N.J., her family decided to bring the event to Virginia to help more local families.

Since 2008, 682 people have participated in the Virginia Polar Dip raising more than $306,000 for the camp. The camp organizes 11 polar dips on the east coast each year. The event will be emceed for the fourth year in a row by 97.1 WASH-FM morning show radio personality Chilli Amar.

Camp Sunshine is nestled alongside the shores of Sebago Lake and provides respite, support, joy and hope to children with life-threatening illnesses and their immediate families through various stages of a child’s illness.

This year’s goal at Lake Anne is to raise $100,000, which will allow 50 families from the Mid-Atlantic area to come to Camp Sunshine. The event is sponsored by Lake Anne, David Madison Photography, Reston Association, Reston Community Center, Spotted MP Marketing & Public Relations, Jasmine Café, Fairfax Christian School, Tropical Smoothie Café, 97.1 WASH-FM, and Sheraton Reston Hotel. For more information about the event or to register to participate, visit www.freezinforareason.com or become a Facebook Fan (Virginia Polar Dip) and view pictures from previous dips.