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.

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My ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has surprise ending

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Yep, I knew it would happen eventually. I've been waiting to be asked to participate in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge but I never thought it would come from our Australian foreign exchange student from 24 years ago – Rebecca Freeman Haines! I asked her to do the ice bucket honors. She came all the way from Australia to be with us!

In this video, I weathered a bucket of ice water dumped over my head and then challenged my neighbors at Cypress Station in North Ridgeville and my co-workers at University Hospital’s Eye Institute Reading Centers to also support this worthy cause.

Watch the video to the end to see a surprise in my ice bucket.

Also included in this video are VERY COOL celebrity challenges from around the Internet including President Barack Obama, Cleveland Cavalier LeBron James, professional ice hockey player Paul Bissonnette, “The Besties” – Brittany and Brittani, Jimmy Fallon with Rob Riggle, Horatio Sanz, Steve Higgins and the Roots.

Please take the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge or make a donation to

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:


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.

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.

Former Olmsted Falls resident needs our help dealing with severe wrath of tornadoes

First grade teacher, Jenna McGilvray (formerly of Olmsted Falls) is seeing her students suffer the wrath of severe tornadoes that hit Dunn, North Carolina on April 16th. The area has been declared a disaster. Five of Jenna's students have lost their homes completely and many other students' homes sustained severe damage.

The 6 to 7 year old students are in need of any used or new clothing and school supplies (book bags, crayons, pencils etc.)

To help, contact: Jenna McGilvray, 6280 Abbotts Park Dr. Apt E., Fayetteville, NC  28311, Phone: 330-338-9258, E-mail: [email protected]

Or Jenna’s parents: Jim & Kim McGilvray,  Phone: 440-243-7843, E-mail: [email protected]

Dara Hosta/Olmsted Spirit Race a huge success despite the rain


The Dara Hosta Olmsted Spirit 5K Race starts with over 600 runners and walkers.

The Dara Hosta Olmsted Spirit 5K Race starts with over 600 runners and walkers.

The Dara Hosta/Olmsted Spirit 5K Race/Walk was held on Sunday, May 1st in Olmsted Falls. Over 600 runners and walkers ranging in age from infants in strollers to eighty-four took part in the fund-raising annual event. An additional 200-300 family and friends were there to cheer on their loved ones.

It was extremely gratifying to have an event that brings out the community for fun, fellowship and exercise. Although the race has been in existence since 1998, it has grown significantly since 2006 raising over $100,000.00 for scholarships for Olmsted Falls' students over that five year period. It wouldn't be possible without the financial support of so many businesses from Olmsted Falls and beyond who donate money and door prizes as corporate sponsors.

In 2010, $21,000.00 in college scholarships was distributed to 42 Olmsted Falls High School graduates. To receive a scholarship, the student had to demonstrate their school and/or community spirit by the activities they were involved in during their lifetime.

Originally named the “Olmsted Spirit 5K Race/Walk” when first run in 1998, the event was renamed the “Dara Hosta Olmsted Spirit 5K Race/Walk” in 2000 in memory of the OFHS freshman who passed away after winning the 400 meter run in gym class in the Spring of 2000.

Did you walk, run or just watch the race? Did you know Dara personally? Do you know someone who received a scholarship in the past from the race? Please leave a comment on this post.

For race results and photos, visit:

Flash mob makes surprise appearance in Cleveland

Dare2Care of Cleveland staged a flash mob at a park at West 25th and Lorain to raise awareness against bullying.

They danced to Abba's “Dancing Queen.”  The group was suppose to perform at the West Side Market but was bumped to the park so market vendors could service their Easter customers.

Have you ever seen or been in a flash mob? What was that experience like? Please leave a comment on this post.

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:

If 500 people “Like” my SpectraLight Facebook page ( by October 8th, I will donate $250 to Rainbow.

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

North Ridgeville Bicentennial posters help worthy cause

Last Fall, I read about an organization in my town that was struggling to help local families in need with food, shelter, clothing, counseling and more. The North Ridgeville Community Care (NRCC) was experiencing dwindling funds as the demand for their services sharply increased due to our nation's worst recession in over 70 years.

That's when I decided to create a poster celebrating the Bicentennial of North Ridgeville to be used as a fund raiser for the NRCC.

The poster was designed with photos  of North Ridgeville that were taken last summer. SpectraLight Photography picked up the cost of printing so that 100% of the money raised would go to NRCC. My goal is to raise $1000.00 for this worthy organization through the sale of this poster. Continue reading

Outrageous medical billing practices rip-off consumers

The scales of justice are clearly “unbalanced” when medical providers charge far and above what insurance will cover by what is known as “balance billing.”

Judah Ariel, who wrote about her mother’s life threatening accident in the March 21st Forum section of the Plain Dealer, did an excellent job explaining how balance billing is a “double strike” against those who can’t afford health insurance. Not being able to afford health insurance is “strike one” and having medical providers jacking-up the true cost of their services so the uninsured pays exorbitant fees is “strike two.”

I am fortunate to have decent insurance to protect me against this practice. However, looking at three recent bills from my insurance carrier (see them at vividly illustrate balance billing in action. One bill lists “Amount Charged” as $708.49 and “Amount Allowed” as $446.35. Another bill lists “Amount Charged” as $401.00 and “Amount Allowed” as $165.22. The last bill lists “Amount Charged” as $433.35 and “Amount Allowed” as $153.00. Without the insurance company to knock down the final amounts charged by the providers, I would have paid a total of $1542.84 instead of $764.57 which is more than double what an uninsured person would have paid.

I pray that the new health care reform bill puts an end to this practice. If not, then our elected officials need to address this shameful scam immediately.

So what do YOU think about these billing practices? Please leave your comment below.

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About us: SpectraLight Photography & Design is located in North Ridgeville, OH – just 10 minutes west of Great Northern Mall and 20 – 25 minutes west of downtown Cleveland. Discover more about our photography services here.

Now that is for the birds!

Migratory birds are losing their lives by the MILLIONS. Read this amazing article by Cleveland Plain Dealer columnist Connie Schultz.

So what do YOU think of this problem? Please leave your comment below.

Follow us on FacebookYouTubePinterestInstagram, and Twitter. Check out our artwork of amazing places from the Cleveland area and around the world here.

About us: SpectraLight Photography & Design is located in North Ridgeville, OH – just 10 minutes west of Great Northern Mall and 20 – 25 minutes west of downtown Cleveland. Discover more about our photography services here.