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Rockaway Polar Plunge Raises Awareness, Hope For Cystic Fibrosis Patient

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) –  On a brutally cold morning, when there's ice on the dock and snow on the beach, why would anyone go for a dip in Breezy Point? For a good cause, of course.

Annie McMahon, 17, is suffering from advanced cystic fibrosis, which shuts down the lungs. CBS2 first met Annie eight years ago when she was a little girl, but as she grows, her battle is getting tougher.

"I was in the hospital last week. I just got out on Wednesday so the fact I'm here is pretty cool," Annie told CBS2's Dick Brennan.

Annie's parents said she will need a transplant and time is a factor, but they try to be strong.

"When she was born, they said she'd only live until about 18. She's 18 next week," her father John McMahon said.

"You've got to rally because you have to be there for her and we're going to do everything we can to keep her healthy and to save her life," her mother Theresa McMahon said.

But finding a donor match can be difficult, Brennan reported.

"Every 15 hours, a New Yorker dies waiting for a life-saving transplant," Phoebe Kmeck with LiveOnNY said.

So on Saturday, supporters gathered to raise awareness and raise hope at the 15th Annual Rockaway Polar Plunge, jumping into the freezing water off Breezy Point.

"I feel good! I feel great and cold," one supporter said.

"(How do you feel?) Cold, but it was a good cause," another told Brennan.

"I'm really grateful because all the money raised helps extend my life so just being here and supporting me is amazing," Annie said.

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