8th annual event brings largest crowd and greatest funds
By Elsie Lynn Parini
The Colchester Sun
On a windy and overcast Sunday, more than 130 participants came out to Bayside Park in Colchester to take a dip in Malletts Bay for the 8th Annual Big Chill Be A Hero For Epilepsy.
“We had more participation than ever this year,” said Epilepsy Foundation of Vermont Executive Director Audrey Butler. “It was a wonderful event with great people, great food and great music.”
Even though the water was a brisk 39 degrees, nearly 30 more supporters turned up to jump in the lake than last year. Thirteen teams registered and fundraised to benefit the Epilepsy Foundation of Vermont. This year’s teams included: Champlain Oil Company, Quinny Dippers, Frozen Twinkies, Almartin Volvo Family, Hannaford North Avenue Ice Breakers, The Brave Brains, Middlebury Rugby Club, Lundbeck Starfish, Wedding Splashers, Harry’s Superheroes, Hannaford’s Shelburne Road, The Tenderloins from Natural Provisions, and Local 22 & Local 44 Television.
“We raised over $14,000 this year and funds are still coming in,” reported Butler, who is celebrating her 37th year as executive director of the foundation. “We’ve raised more funds this year than ever.”
On hand again this year were volunteer members of the Malletts Bay Fire and Colchester Rescue Departments. Lucky Karen Savage, of Colchester, and firefighter Cole Hayes, of Burlington, suited up in thick neoprene and spent the better part of an hour floating in the bay, offering assistance to the dippers as needed.
“We’re here to help anyone who needs assistance,” said MBFD Assistant Chief Steve Bourgeois. “The cold water can be a big shock to your system.”
Colchester Rescue members Kate Soons, Megan Severance and Matt Lebow stood at the waters edge on medical standby.
New to the annual event was a drone flying above each team as they entered the water. Ben Barlow of Dragonfly Media, located in Shelburne, operated the hovering camera.
He most likely captured footage of Lisa and Dr. Keith Nagle as they plunged into the lake with their team — the Wedding Splashers — in celebration of their 25th wedding anniversary. “Why not?” The Colchester couple figured. “It’s fun!”
Dr. Nagle is a neurologist at the University of Vermont Medical Center and is the chair of Epilepsy Foundation of Vermont professional advisory board. Butler said he was recently selected as a member of the national professional advisory board for the Epilepsy Foundation.
To learn more about the Epilepsy Foundation of Vermont visit www.epilepsyvt.org or call 1-800-565-0972.