Dip for Derek

Hardy folk brave the waves for a good cause

By Sarah E. Reynolds | Jan 01, 2014
Photo by: Sarah E. Reynolds Participants  in the 2014 Dip for Derek Polar Challenge brave the frigid Atlantic on New Year's Day.

Lincolnville — A crowd of nearly 40 people assembled at the water's edge in Lincolnville Beach New Year's Day for the annual Dip for Derek Polar Challenge.

About two dozen brave individuals waded into – and ran out of – the water in 20-degree weather to raise money for the Derek O'Brien Trust. A Rockport native, O'Brien suffered a broken spine in a 2005 swimming accident.

Organizer Peter Roper said the youngest entrant was 7 years old; there were about five first-timers this year, he said. Previous years have seen as many as 70 people join the run into the bracing ocean, and as few as four, he said.

O'Brien himself was on hand in his wheelchair, as he usually is, greeting participants and donors to his cause. An avid photographer and new media student, he said he makes a practice of having a photography theme for each day.

Pam Tibbetts came in costume, wearing a bright red wig with jiggly stars that said “Happy New Year” sticking out of it and spectacles made out of the numbers 2-0-1-4.

The fundraiser is ongoing; those wishing to contribute without going into the Atlantic in January may send checks payable to the Derek O'Brien Trust to 10 Spring St., Camden, ME 04843.

For more information, contact Roper at 236-0074.

Derek O'Brien chats with a spectator at the Dip for Derek Polar Challenge Jan. 1, which raises money for his benefit. O'Brien broke his spine in a swimming accident nine years ago. (Photo by: Sarah E. Reynolds)
At 7 years old, Charlie Pons, left, was one of the youngest swimmers in the Dip for Derek at Lincolnville Beach Jan. 1. With him is his grandmother, Rebecca Roper, who stayed dry. (Photo by: Sarah E. Reynolds)
Pam Tibbetts gets into the daring spirit of the day, wearing a costume to the Dip for Derek at Lincolnville Beach Jan. 1. She said she has taken part in Polar Challenges for 11 years. (Photo by: Sarah E. Reynolds)
Flash-frozen swimmers make their way out of the water after completing the Dip for Derek Polar Challenge at Lincolnville Beach Jan. 1. (Photo by: Sarah E. Reynolds)
Dip for Derek organizer Peter Roper does not seem to be in a hurry as he leaves the icy waters at Lincolnville Beach Jan. 1. (Photo by: Sarah E. Reynolds)
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Sarah Reynolds
Sarah E. Reynolds is a reporter for the Camden Herald.
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Sarah E. Reynolds has been a reporter and writer for more than 20 years, winning awards from the Maine Press Association and other professional organizations. She loves to read, hike and play word games.

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