Pearcedale Baxter JFC takes the plunge

The "Big Freeze" Ice challenge at Pearcedale Junior Football Club. 285764_01 Pictures: GARY SISSONS

By Chloe Henry

The Pearcedale Baxter Junior Football Club hosted a Big Freeze event on Sunday, June 19 to raise funds for fighting motor neurone disease (MND).

The event took place in conjunction with the MND round for AFL South East, with the club passing its goal of $2000 before fundraiser day.

PBJFC President John Barbaressos said this is the first year his club has done the fundraiser but had as many as 600 to 700 attendees at one point on the day.

“It was absolutely wonderful, a massive success,” Mr Barabaressos said.

“It was a great, great effort by everyone at the club.”

Each team also nominated one person to be dunked, with the aim of raising more money on the day.

Around 25 club members were dunked in total.

Being the club president, Mr Barbaressos was no exception.

Club secretary Nick Caldwell also took the freezing plunge on the day.

“It wasn’t too bad actually, I was only in for about two seconds,” Mr Caldwell said.

Everyone who was dunked dressed up as well, with Mr Barbaressos dressing up as former US President Donald Trump.

“Everyone that got dunked was dressed up in a costume, which worked really well, the kids absolutely loved it,” he said.

As of Wednesday 22 June, the online fundraiser was still open and had raised around $3000.

The club is planning on doing the fundraiser again next year, and for many years to come.

Mr Barbaressos said he’s had people both within and outside the club offering to help organise and pitch in for next year’s event, and expand its future fundraisers to include those from the wider community.

“We’ve already had quite a few people from the club that have expressed interest in joining and forming a committee to run this event every year, and not just as a footy club but to include the wider community,” he said.

“So, I think next year’s one will be a Pearcedale Big Freeze rather than just a Pearcedale junior football club Big Freeze.“

The club received help from many locals and businesses in order to get last week’s event up and running, including the local CFA and fish market, whose help Mr Barbaressos and Mr Caldwell are very grateful for.

“Without all these people the event couldn’t have happened, it was well-worth seeing all the smiles on the kids’ faces,“ Mr Barbaressos said.

“Thanks to everyone that dressed up and put their hand up, with no questions asked, to volunteer their time to get dunked and absolutely freezing wet.

“It’s a wonderful club, we still have that good old country feel about us in Pearcedale, where everyone bands around each other and makes things happen.”