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plunging for a purpose

Mark & Ann-Marie Brasil

Mark & Ann-Marie Brasil

HOMETOWN: Richmond, RI


Profession: Police Detective, URI Police Department

Super Plunger Since: 2017


Profession: Registered Nurse

Super Plunger Since: 2018

What initially prompted you to get involved in the Super Plunge for Special Olympics Rhode Island?

In 2008, the Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR) Plunge – a singular plunge event – was created. Sergeant Erica Vieira and I took the plunge for the very first time and have continued ever since then. In 2016, I learned about the Super Plunge, and took on the role as a teammate in 2017 alongside Sgt. Vieira.

Ann-Marie: I first learned about the Super Plunge when I plunged for the first time alongside the URI Police Department team at the LETR plunge in 2016. I was amazed at the turnout; I hadn’t seen anything like this before. Coming from California, plunging into the freezing water is not a thing. The water just isn’t cold enough there so this was an experience. After plunging that first time and seeing the courage and drive the Super Plunge team had, I knew I wanted to contribute somehow. I could see the amazing bond the team had working towards the same goal, to raise awareness and funds for some pretty awesome people. I wanted to join the team because I wanted to help make a difference in the lives of the athletes and their families.

Describe at a high level the Super Plunge experience.

Mark: The frigid temperature of the water is both exhilarating and shocking, jolting your system every hour on the hour. That is the most challenging part. But you know what keeps me going? My fellow Super Plungers – they are awesome. We cheer each other on and really support one another, not just through this event but all the time. They are a great group of people!

Ann-Marie: Emotions run high all weekend as athletes support us tirelessly, providing food, towels, and cheers. The best moments? The high fives and hugs as we emerge from the water, not just from athletes, but their families too. The athletes’ smiles radiate pure love. They are the true heroes, facing daily challenges far beyond our icy plunge. Another incredible part of this experience is the closeness I feel to my teammates. Since relocating from California, they’ve become like family to me! We all push one another to excel, despite the bitter cold and at times the howling wind and rain that descend upon us. Even at 3 a.m., when the cold bites and the body aches, their support and cheers never wane. Our team captain, Mike, is the life of our Super Plunge family. He’s always the first to get up for a plunge, day or night, offering pep talks and his famous rally cry, “Let’s go!”


Given that you’re plunging into icy waters every hour for 24 hours straight, are you able to eat or sleep at all?

Mark: We do eat and try to take quick naps but the longest anyone seems to be able to sleep between plunges is 15-20 minutes.

Ann-Marie: I’m not able to sleep although I try. Some are able, but by the time you get back to the shed to sit and get warmed up, it’s almost time to start the routine all over again with the next plunge. Eating is absolutely a big part of our weekend! Thank you to every single person and company who donates to us…we are so grateful!

How do you personally prepare for the Super Plunge?

Mark: I really wing it. Nothing fully prepares you for the Super Plunge. I just try to grit my way through it.

Ann-Marie: I wing it as well, especially because every year something new presents itself. So, I just try to go with the flow and brace for whatever the weather brings my way. I pack a lot of stuff; just ask my teammates. Ha!


During the Super Plunge, are there any steps you take or rituals you follow before and/or after each of the 24-hour plunges?

Mark: It’s pretty straightforward for me. I try to warm up and rest if I can and dry my swimsuit.

Ann-Marie: I like to go to my changing shed, turn the heat on full blast, and melt with the hot air on in hopes that running into the freezing ocean will be refreshing and not so cold. Thank you, Newport Propane – we’d be lost without the heat you provide!


Describe how you feel physically and emotionally after the final 24th plunge?

Mark: I feel energized and exhausted at the same time.

Ann-Marie:. A range of emotions hit us at daybreak. We all go outside as the sun comes up and it’s refreshing. When it’s time for the 24th plunge, I am a bundle of emotions; happy to have accomplished this for the athletes but sad that it’s over. Physically I am exhausted but that doesn’t hit me until I am home. Up until this point, you are running on adrenalin.

Do you have a favorite memory from any of the Super Plunges you’ve participated in?

Mark: What my teammate Michael Bullock did during our first Super Plunge together is my favorite memory. He is one of the most dedicated and inspirational teammates one could hope for. The weather was brutally cold, and the water was freezing (literally), yet Michael’s energy and enthusiasm were unbreakable. He kept me going when I didn’t think I could. He is an inspiration to us all.

Ann-Marie: My favorite plunges will forever be the ones with my dear friends Erica Vieira and Tammy David. Two outstanding women in law enforcement who I had the privilege to plunge alongside for 3 years in a row. We’ve shared so much together and the laughs we’ve had are memories I’ll cherish forever.


What message would you like to share with members of the public about your commitment to the Super Plunge and the athletes of Special Olympics Rhode Island, and about how members of the public can support this initiative?

Mark: The Law Enforcement Torch Run Plunge and the Super Plunge bring together around 200 participants, including police officers, firefighters, Special Olympics athletes, their families, local residents, and students from nearby schools. Beyond just raising funds, these events aim to raise awareness too. Supporting the athletes and their families is at the heart of why we do this – to demonstrate our care and willingness to assist however we can. So, I’d ask the community to kindly consider donating to Special Olympics Rhode Island.

Ann-Marie: Every dollar counts. When someone hears ‘donation,’ I don’t think they realize that every dollar truly counts. It doesn’t have to be a large amount to make a difference. Inclusion is one of the most valuable gifts we can give to athletes, their families, and our community. When we come together for a common cause, not only do we raise funds, but we also raise awareness. It’s a wonderful way to promote unity and solidarity while supporting a great cause.

Aside from the Super Plunge, are you involved with Special Olympics Rhode Island in any other way?

Mark: Yes, I volunteer every year to hand out medals to the athletes. I started my journey with Special Olympics in 1977 by coaching track and field while I was stationed in Guam with the US Air Force.

Ann-Marie: Outside of the Super Plunge, I participate in various fundraising events throughout the year and volunteer at Summer Games, held annually at URI.

Anything else you’d like to add about the Super Plunge or Special Olympics Rhode Island?

Mark: We truly believe in freezin’ for a reason. The athletes and their families are the reason we take on the Super Plunge each year. To show them that we care about them and are here to support them in any way we can.

Ann-Marie: The cold is temporary, the impact is not. Come out to any event SORI holds throughout the year, be a part of a wonderful organization, and champion inclusion to make a lasting difference in the lives of thousands of athletes and their families.

The Plunging for a Purpose Series

The “Plunging for a Purpose” series celebrates the indomitable spirit of the Torch Run Super Plunge participants. These remarkable individuals are gearing up for an extraordinary challenge: plunging into icy waters every hour for a relentless 24-hour stretch, starting at 1 p.m. on March 23 and concluding at noon on March 24, all at Salty Brine State Beach. Their goal? To raise vital funds and awareness for the athletes of Special Olympics Rhode Island. Through their dedication and selflessness, they inspire us all. Join us in supporting their cause by considering a donation to their remarkable endeavor.