April Fools Swimmers Jump In For Jennie

By: Alan Pollock

Topics: Community events

Fools rush in.  ALAN POLLOCK PHOTO

CHATHAM — On Saturday, the water off Harding’s Beach was a frigid 40 degrees. But it was still a couple degrees warmer than the air temperature. Neither one deterred the April Fools of Chatham, who made their annual swim for a good cause.

The event was postponed from April 1 because of a gusty rainstorm.

This year’s plunge was made in honor of 36-year-old Jennie Porter, who is recovering from the effects of a massive stroke. Porter made a surprise appearance at the beach to cheer on her supporters. About 100 swimmers took the plunge over a two-hour period and the Fools have raised about $22,000 so far.

“As usual, I heard firsthand from the recipient that as helpful and important as the financial help is, it is the emotional support that means the most,” organizer Justin Tavano said. “Can't say enough about the folks who show up (whether just to swim or with their wallet) year after year.”

While the April Fools swim is organized by Chatham firefighters, the effort has grown to include many others in the past dozen years, and has raised more than $150,000 for local families. To help, visit the “Jump In For Jennie” event page on Facebook or send a financial contribution to the Chatham Fire Department, 135 Depot Rd., Chatham, MA 02633.