Family raising funds through Polar Plunge

On March 11, our family will take our ninth Polar Plunge in to the ocean in Seabrook. Donations this year will once again benefit Cooper Doucette and Alexandria Teixeira.

Cooper is 21 and was paralyzed in 2010 when he was 15 on the first day of football practice in Nashua. Ally is 23 and was paralyzed in an automobile accident of which she was a passenger in December 2014. Ally has a beautiful little daughter named Alyvia, who is 2.

Over these last few months, I have been fortunate to be able to help Cooper get from UNH, where he will graduate in May, to Project Walk in Stratham for his two-hour rigorous therapy sessions. From there, it is home for the weekends to his Nashua home, where he lives with his dad, Bill, and younger brother, Chandler.

Coop lives just over 2 miles from me. I have been able to have many conversations with Coop during our drives, and have seen how bright he is while we discuss his upcoming graduation and his goals of wanting to be able to drive come next summer and be able to become more independent going forward. I have witnessed firsthand how hard he works at Project Walk, and I am so impressed that he will graduate on time from UNH. It is impossible for my family not to want to continue to support Cooper.

When I asked Cooper what he has on his wish list, he gave me two: continued visits to Project Walk and hand controls for his van so that he can reach his goal of driving by next summer. Pretty fair requests. Very modest. Coop just wants to get better, stronger and more independent.

Sessions at Project Walk are not covered by insurance. If Cooper were to go just two hours a week, his cost is over $11,000 out of pocket annually. That is just for physical therapy. He also would like some independence by getting his license to drive his van. We need to modify it with hand controls. The cost to do that is a few thousand dollars. Our goal is to help Cooper with both of these needs.

Ally may just be the face of Project Walk, one of the most ferociously hardworking people I have ever met. She has made more strides in two years than most make in five. And she is not done by any stretch. She will never give up her hope of walking again.

Her top priority, however, is to take care of her precious little girl, Alyvia. Imagine just how hard that is. Most of us will never know, but she moves forward complaining very little. No rear-view mirror for Ally. She moves on hoping for a miracle, because at Project Walk, she has seen one: Victoria Arlen, an 11-year-old struck with transverse myelitis in 2006, in a coma for three years, a wheelchair after that, paralympic champion in 2012 and walking this past March. My family witnessed it, and so did Ally. Victoria, her story, tireless work ethic, refusal to give up hope and subsequent miracle have given all those at Project Walk hope.

When I asked Ally what was on her wish list, she gave me one: to remodel her bathroom in her apartment so that she can shower and take a bath on occasion. One thing I have learned from Ally and Coop is that their body temperatures have lost their thermostat, so to speak. So, they get very cold very quickly.

There are times when she would like to take a bath and warm up after a long day. She has never been able to do that. The cost to do this project is around $20,000. We’d like to help her start the process of raising funds so that she may soon realize her wish.

We have not set a monetary goal this year. All we’d like to say is that the ongoing expenses for these two young people are exorbitant. They could use every dime we can raise. Although they’d like to not to be in this position, they are. The things they need and want, we take for granted. They could use our help.

Our “Plunge Mission” is to “lend a helping hand to those in need.” The past eight years, we have been able to have raised some donations for:

– The Mark Frattaroli Scholarship Fund at Lawrence Academy 2009.

– Hope for Haiti after the catastrophic hurricane in 2010.

– Cooper Doucette in 2011, 2012, 2013.

– The three young girls of Katie Hamilton, 30, killed in an automobile accident on Christmas Eve 2013. (2014)

– Ally Teixeira in 2015.

– Ally and Cooper in 2016.

If you would like to make a tax-deductible donation, make checks payable to Church of the Good Shepherd; write “Ally Teixeira,” “Cooper Doucette” or “Polar Plunge” in the memo line; and mail to: Church of the Good Shepherd, 214 Main St., Nashua, NH 03060.

If you aren’t concerned about a tax deduction, please make your check out to Alexandria Teixeira Irrevocable Trust or Supa Coop Fund and mail to Ray Keefe, 3 Howe Drive, Unit 2, Amherst, NH 03031.

To make an online donation, you can use PayPal: and make a note to “Ally,” “Cooper” or just “Polar Plunge.”