This past Saturday, I attended the event, “Take The Plunge for Annie McMahon.” I attended this event 19 years ago when it first started at the old Tap and Grill bar. The event grew larger each year, so they then moved over to St. Camillus’ Springman Hall, and now it is at the Colony Theater in Breezy Point. I do not know why I have not attended in many years, but I will be back every year.
For those of you who do not know, Annie McMahon is a 22-year-old young woman who has battled Cystic Fibrosis since she was 18 months old. Nineteen years ago on a bet, a family friend, Jim Mullen, said he would jump in the water if people donated money. When he had $500 in his pocket, he called Annie’s dad and said that he guessed he had to go through with it. Nineteen years later, over a million dollars have been raised for Cystic Fibrosis research. In March of 2018, Jim passed away and this year, they held the event in his honor.
The reason I will try my best not to miss this event each year is the inspiration I left with after hearing Annie speak so passionately about living each day to the fullest. Now, I am not one to cry, some people actually say I am missing a sensitivity “chip.” Well, after Annie’s speech, I was shedding a few tears. But that was not the only moving speech. While Annie had her double lung transplant, she met a group of other young women who have battled cystic fibrosis for most of their lives. Annie has labeled them her “cysters.” To hear them speak so positively of their experiences of being in and out of the hospital for most of their lives and trying to have a normal childhood was very uplifting.
Another thing that is so uplifting is that even though this family was nursing a sick child, they hosted this amazing event each year. I find it so inspiring that even though their child’s life was in danger, they hosted this event that raised so much money for research. Now each year, they donate money to various organizations and this year the money was raised for an organization called Help Hope Live, which is a non-profit organization that helps families with the costs that insurance does not cover. One of Annie’s “cysters” said that the organization helped pay for her expenses to come from North Carolina to New York to have her multiple surgeries.
So the next time you hear yourself complaining about something trivial, remember Annie and her “cysters” and their positive spirit and determination to live, and live with a purpose. Annie and friends, you are amazing young women.
To Annie, Theresa and John McMahon, their entire family and friends who helped to run this great event, thank you for instilling some sensitivity in me. I’ll see you next year. Maybe I will even take the “plunge.”