Friends honored for raising more than $100K for MS

Nine years ago this winter, Tom Patterson and Lee Caney were on a beach in Westport with a few friends while their children played. Someone dared Patterson to take a dive into the ice-cold water, which he refused. But, after leaving Patterson’s mind started spinning — what if he could pose that chilly challenge to the community and use it to raise money for local organizations?

The next year, the Polar Plunge “Freezin’ For A Reason” at Westport’s Compo beach was born. In eight years of taking the plunge, co-founders  Tom and Lee led the charge in raising a collective $750,000 for community organizations. Then, Caney’s wife, Carolyn, was diagnosed with MS and it was decided it was time to support the National MS Society.

This New Year’s Day, more than 100 ‘polar bears’ dove into Long Island Sound after raising $104,000 for the National MS Society, Connecticut Chapter. At the Chapter’s annual meeting, leadership decided to honor Patterson and Caney, recognizing their fundraising efforts. Both received a Mission Champion award, newly created to recognize individuals who raise in excess of $100,000 for the MS movement in one year.

Funds raised through events such as the TI Polar Bear Plunge ensure ongoing scientific research to find a cure and provide for the continuation of vital programs and services offered by the chapter to Connecticut residents affected by MS.

For more information on the National MS Society, Connecticut Chapter, visit ctfightsMS.org or call 860-913-2550.

Emcee Mike Stacy helps present Tom Patterson and Lee Carney the Mission Champion award with National MS Society, Connecticut Chapter, president Lisa Gerrol at the Chapter’s Annual Meeting Sunday, March 6,  in Rocky Hill.

Emcee Mike Stacy helps present Tom Patterson and Lee Carney the Mission Champion award with National MS Society, Connecticut Chapter, president Lisa Gerrol at the Chapter’s Annual Meeting Sunday, March 6, in Rocky Hill.

 

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