Polar plunge raises suicide prevention awareness - NBC40.net

Polar plunge raises suicide prevention awareness

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Don't let the bright sunshine fool you, polar bear plungers hurried to warm up after participating in "Freezing for a Reason."

Lauren Washburn organized the event to raise money and awareness for a topic that has hit close to home.

"I started this because in my family, I've had close family members to me, I have lost family members to suicide. And I think it's really important to talk about these things and be able to address them like we should," said Washburn.

Washburn says the event already gathered nearly two thousand dollars in donations online prior to Sunday's event.

Money raised from wristband and t-shirt sales, as well as participant registration, will go to the American Foundation for the Prevention of Suicide as well as the Cop to Cop program.

"It's a peer to peer program where police officers can talk to other officers about topics, whatever they need to talk about, to get through some of the harder things in life," said Local 24 PBA President Paul Barbere.

And at "Freezing for a Reason," both the attendance and temperatures of the water exceeded expectations.

"Believe it or not it wasn't as cold as I thought it would be. A little cold but I'm feeling it now," said Barbere.

"We thought it would be a little bit colder but we're kind of glad it's not colder. But we had fun, good people showed up, good people donated, it was a good experience," said polar bear plunger Drew Washburn.

"Freezing for a Reason organizers hope today's polar bear plunge starts a tradition while opening a dialog about suicide prevention.

"There is such a stigma surrounding suicide, everybody becomes instantly quite when you start talking about it," said Lauren Washburn.

 "So I think it's important you do get the word out and start talking about it."

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