McCarthy said meeting the “wish kids” is a highlight of the event, adding that many come to the splash to participate or show their gratitude to the Polar Bears. McCarthy said that to hear about their progress and the wishes they had granted makes him “melt.”
“The best part is the smile on these kids’ faces,” he said. “It’s just amazing.”
A handful of “wish” families will be on the beach this year, with two kids taking the plunge.
“It takes on such an added meaning this year, that the community would do this in the midst of everything they’ve been through.” said Make-a-Wish Foundation of Metro New York President and CEO, Patricia Clemency. “The polar bears have just led by example, in good times and bad. To take the challenges they face this year, and say it’s still important, is just the most incredible endorsement we could ask for. It means so much to us.”
For many Long Beach residents who are displaced, the splash will be a welcome back, said McCarty. McCarty has been displaced to Oceanside, and thinks the splash will be a great reunion.
“It’ll be nice to see everyone,” he said. “It’ll be one big group hug down there.”
McCarthy said he is thankful for the city’s support, adding that this year it cleared the beaches and will be checking the water for any debris before the start.
“They’ve always stepped up to the plate and gave us whatever we needed,” he said.
You can look for McCarthy charging in to the water with a large banner that reads “Meyers, Bradley, McCarthy.” The original polar bears always run in together, he said. And for those who are wary because of the cold weather we’ve been having, McCarthy says they have nothing to fear.
“We always have good weather. No matter how cold it is leading up, the day of it warms up,” he said. “We believe Patti and Paulie are looking down on us and give us this good weather.”
The Long Beach Polar Bears Superbowl Splash takes place on Sunday, Feb. 3 at Grand Boulevard beginning at 12:30 p.m. Shuttle buses will be running between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Please visit www.longbeachpolarbears.org
for more information and bus routes.