Would any sane parent let his/her child jump into the freezing, ice-cold ocean in the middle of winter? My answer was firm” NO!!!” Then “May be?” Then “Yes” (never said that). Being raised by a Jewish grandmother, I learned from the very young age, that making yourself exposed to cold by taking off gloves, hats, scarves, or any other items of clothing could lead to bad, very bad things; including, but not limited to untimely death from hypothermia. This unproven, but undeniable fact was engraved in my brain forever.
We tried; we offered to just make a donation, but our son was on a mission to make our lives difficult. He was determined to jump in the bitter cold water in February. He made a decision. Luckily, the God collaborated with meteorologists and brought 49F temperature to Long Island that day.
The new Long Beach boardwalk was filled with people. Dressed in orange shirts, volunteers were directing people to drop the donations and waivers; American and Make-A-Wish flags were flying in the sunny sky; the loud music was coming from the stage assembled on the sand. Thousands of people crowded the beach, playing football, dancing Lambada, running around, laughing, or just sitting on the blankets enjoying the view. I didn’t remember seeing that many people being in a good mood at the same time. People of completely different cultures, religions, believes, gender, age, skin color, sexual orientation came together for a great cause. It was beautiful and powerful at the same time.
The thanks were extended to officials that helped to organize the event; the “Make-A-Wish” kids told their stories; prayers said; big donations announced. Participants, including few dogs, emerged in the chilling winter water, and ran back to the shore; some wrapping themselves in the warm towels right away, some enjoying a cold breeze for a bit longer. It was a great experience.
“Make-A-Wish” is the cause that depends solely on the donations of the regular people, like us. There are no government programs, or grants, or allocated companies’ budgets. We are the ones to make it happen. Supporting and helping each other unconditionally is a universal concept, and it works every single time. Doing Mitzvah never goes out of style. After all, these special moments, that “Make-A-Wish” foundation helps to create, make the life worth living. Next year, we all are planning to jump, just because it is something we want to do.