While the water won’t be as chilly as past years, local residents will have the chance to plunge into the cold waters of Castle Rock Lake for a good cause on Saturday.
The Dirty Turtle bar, along with the American Cancer Society (ACS), will host the Purple Plunge to benefit the Juneau County Relay For Life. The event begins at 11 a.m. with jumps beginning at 2 p.m. For the past 19 years, the event was held annually as the Turtle Dunk.
This year’s plunge kicks off with a 12-team bag toss tournament at 11:30. Entry costs $20 per team and there’s a 50 percent payout. The Purple Plunge will also feature a silent auction, chili cook-off, and other fun activities.
Stephanie Printz, a community manager with the American Cancer Society, helps coordinate the annual Relay For Life event every year at Mauston High School. This year’s relay will be held July 15-16.
“This year is the 20th year overall, but the first with the new name,” Printz said. “Changing the name was more of an insurance issue because the bar could no longer cover it. The (ACS) was able to cover the insurance, and with taking it under our wing, we could come up with a new name. We threw a lot of stuff out there, but we decided to stick with Purple Plunge because it’s a big color for us.”
The ACS uses purple as its main color for Relay For Life marketing and, this year, the color has taken on another special meaning.
“We have the theme ‘Paint Your World Purple.’ It seems so simple, but yet so perfect for what we’re trying to do this year,” Printz said.
As Saturday’s plunge approaches, Printz is hoping for a large turnout of brave souls ready to support Relay For Life.
“It used to be on Jan. 1, so everything is kind of new this year,” Printz said. “We’re hoping to do this again next year, but we may go back to a Jan. 1 plunge. We’ll see how this year goes and figure it out from there.”
It’s difficult to find someone who hasn’t been affected by cancer. While this Saturday’s plunge is a small, local event, it’s one of many the ACS is holding across the country to raise funds for valuable cancer research. A few dollars raised on Saturday could lead to finding a cure in the coming years.
“All the proceeds go toward the ACS and we’re doing amazing things. The research is a huge factor of what we do but we also provide services, programs, educational materials and information every day,” Printz said.
In Juneau County, residents have used several programs, including the Wisconsin Hope Lodge in Marshfield, to support families dealing with cancer. Those affected by cancer may believe they’re fighting a battle alone, but there’s always a place to turn for help.
“We can only help those who call and ask for it so it’s great when people are calling and asking about these services,” Printz said.
For more information about Saturday’s event and this year’s Relay For Life, call Printz at 404-417-8004 or email her at email@example.com.