Cleveland Arctic Plunge – Another one for the “bucket list”

Call it “midlife crisis” or just a little insanity. Last Saturday was my latest “bucket list” moment as I joined dozens of Northeast Ohioans for the 2015 Arctic Plunge at Edgewater Park near downtown Cleveland.

After jumping out of a perfectly good airplane two years ago, I thought it would be fun to dive into the frigid waters of an icy Lake Erie to support the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), Team Fox (Parkinson's Disease), University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital and Westshore Critical Incident Response Services.

Before taking the plunge, I videotaped my fellow “plungees” (plungers?) as they entered the water like sheep being lead to their slaughter. There were plenty of whoops and laughter as they proceeded in single file down the narrow channel that had just been carved out of the frozen lake by an excavator.

Then it was my turn. I peeled of my winter coat and pants, removed my socks and shoes, turned on my chest-mounted GoPro camera and ran into the lake in my t-shirt and shorts. Good times!

Surprisingly, while the water was cold, it really was quite bearable. The biggest issue I encountered were the chunks of ice floating on and below the water surface. I had a number of cuts and bruises on my lower legs when I finished.

When I got back to the registration tent, someone called a paramedic to attend to my bloodied legs. While he doused the cuts with hydrogen peroxide (which I couldn't feel due to the numbness of my legs), I asked him how many people his crew had treated. Almost apologetically he said, “Well, you're about the only one.” Proud moment for me – NOT!

Have you ever jumped in a frigid lake for a good cause? What was YOUR experience like? Please comment here.

Please THUMBS UP, LIKE, COMMENT and SHARE this story.

Top 10 reasons why I decided to shave my head

St. Baldrick's Foundation, Mark Madere, Glenn Barton

Mark Madere and Glenn Barton after getting their heads shaved at a St. Baldrick's Foundation charity fundraiser at University Hospitals Case Medical Center.

Top 10 reasons why I decided to shave my head:

10. My co-worker – Glenn Barton – said he was going to shave his head for the St. Baldrick's cancer fund raiser and I thought it would be cool if we confused our co-workers with the same new “hair” style. (Photo at left)

9. I hate “bed-head” in the morning. (Photo below)

St. Baldrick's fundraiser, Mark Madere, bed head8. The Mocha Monkey said he would if I would. (Photo below)

St. Baldrick's Foundation, cancer research,t University Hospitals, Case Medical Center7. I thought I saw some grey hair coming in and thought this was easier than plucking them individually. (Sorry – no photo with this one. You don't need to see what those nasty grey hairs looked like!)

6. Women just LOVE bald guys. (Photo below)

5. Have you seen my hair in the wind? No Fabio look-alike here. (Photo below)

4. I shaved my head 8 years ago and really dug the look.

3. My wife threatened to divorce me if I ever shaved my head again. (OK – she gets half the bills in the settlement.)Mark Madere, St. Baldrick's fund raiser, University Hospitals of Cleveland

2. The money is going for a great cause – cancer research – so how could I say “no.”

Fabio, Mark Madere, St. Baldrick's1. I know that everyone who has followed this post would like to contribute to the cause. I, and future cancer survivors, THANK YOU. Please donate here: http://bit.ly/spec-bald

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Here's your chance to help!

I've answered the call to help a great cause! I had my head shaved to stand in solidarity with kids fighting cancer, but more importantly, to raise money to find cures. You can help. The good news is that you don't have to get your head shaved to support cancer research!

Please support me with a donation to the St. Baldrick's Foundation. This volunteer-driven charity funds more childhood cancer research grants than any organization except the U. S. government.

Your gift will give hope to infants, children, teens and young adults fighting childhood cancers. So when I ask for your support, I'm really asking you to support these kids.

Thank you!

Click the link to make a donation online, or donate by phone or mail. http://bit.ly/spec-bald

Do you feel that cancer research is important? Please share this article with your family and friends on Facebook, Twitter or any other way you communicate via the Internet.

Monkey invasion at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital stalls

A Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital patient with the first name of Za'Nyha holds a monkey she received while in the hospital.

A Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital patient with the first name of Za'Nyha holds a monkey she received while in the hospital.

The nursing staff at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital is hoping for an invasion of cute, cuddly mocha monkeys – just in time for Christmas!

That’s because I hoped to provide each child patient who is spending their Christmas at Rainbow a free monkey to brighten their stay. Unfortunately, I may not have enough monkeys to go around.

“Monkey Mayhem” – my initiative to raise enough money for a monkey for each of the 200+ plus Rainbow patients on Christmas day has reached the half-way point – BUT time is running out. I need to place an order with the supplier by Friday to have them in time for Christmas.

Anyone can donate to the cause at MochaMonkey.NET. There is an option to purchase a monkey for yourself for $9.95 ($6 goes to Rainbow) or purchase a monkey for a patient for $9.95 and I'll deliver the monkey to Rainbow AND make a $6 donation.

Just skip a beverage or two at your favorite coffee shop and support a great cause this Christmas season.

Monkey on IV pole at Rainbow Babies and Childrens Hospital

Monkey on IV pole at Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital

Marilyn McGrath, director of the Children’s Miracle Network at Rainbow, is pleased about this cause. “As a UH employee, Mark has come up with these adorable monkeys, which when attached to the child’s IV pole or bed will help take their mind off their stay.”

Another great way to help is to post a link back to this blog post from your Facebook page and encourage your family and friends to help. Copy and paste this link:

Monkey invasion at Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital stalls

But hurry! I need to place my order for the monkeys by Friday, Dec. 16th to guarantee Christmas delivery.

For more on this story, read the Cleveland.com article and the WEWS Channel 5 News post.

Wild monkeys to invade Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital in Cleveland

Mocha Monkeys for Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital

Mocha Monkeys for Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital

The nursing staff at Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital will soon be bracing themselves for an invasion of cute, cuddly mocha monkeys – just in time for Christmas! That's because I've decided to provide each child patient who is spending their Christmas at Rainbow a free monkey to brighten their stay.

My first visit to Rainbow was in the early eighties when I visited a teenager who had Cystic Fibrosis (CF). Her name was Betsy Baker and she was the daughter of the minister who would preside over my wedding. Betsy was a dear friend of my wife and a cherished bridesmaid at our wedding. A few years later, Betsy succumbed to CF.Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital

My other experience with Rainbow occurred when a friend of my oldest daughter – Dara Hosta – was taken there after collapsing in gym class from an unknown cause in ninth grade. Dara passed away six days later at Rainbow. Because of that experience, I became the Founding Sponsor of the Dara Hosta Olmsted Spirit 5K Race/Walk in 2000. The event has raised over $150,000.00 for college scholarships for Olmsted Falls graduates since its inception.

MochaMonkey.NETI now pass through the halls at Rainbow each day as I come to work as an Ophthalmic Photographer at University Hospitals. I witness ailing children arriving with their parents and concerned grandparents pacing the floors. It was an easy decision to make Christmas just a little more fun for the special children at Rainbow.

So here's where I need your help. Could you find it in your heart to give a monkey to a child at Rainbow this Christmas? I've set up a web site with a link where you can donate to the cause. It's at the MochaMonkey.NET. Just skip a beverage or two at your favorite coffee shop and support a great cause this Christmas season.

Help me make miracles at Rainbow!

I'm helping Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital raise money to benefit the Children’s Miracle Network.

100% of the funds raised go directly towards critical programs and services for the patients and families at Rainbow.

It's all about the children. Please give generously: https://www.uhgiving.org/SpectraLight

If 500 people “Like” my SpectraLight Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/SpectraLight) by October 8th, I will donate $250 to Rainbow.

If you already “Like” my SpectraLight Facebook Page, go to http://www.facebook.com/SpectraLight and click “Suggest to Friends” on the upper left part of the page and invite your Facebook friends to “Like” it too.