This 9-year-old with cystic fibrosis is about to take ‘the plunge’ in Long Beach


As the saying goes, not all heroes wear capes.

In this case, Harlen Werner, a 9-year-old powerhouse of a kid who was born with cystic fibrosis, will be wearing a bathing suit for the 2023 Super Bowl Splash, Long Beach’s famous polar plunge.

The event has raised more than $8 million for the Make-A-Wish Foundation since its 2000 start.

And Harlen is a past wish recipient.

Harlen Werner

Harlen’s wish was for his family to receive a camper. He wanted to be able to travel to visit family in other states and visit different places without traveling on a “germy plane.” 

“They did a really good thing for me and I want to help other people who have illnesses like mine,” the 3rd grader from East Atlantic Beach told Greater Long Beach.

“I feel like everybody should get the chance to do that.”

Seeing Harlen in action, you would never know he suffers from such a daunting illness.

He’s intelligent, articulate, and full of life.

And when he’s not swimming in icy cold waters, he plays in a local band as the lead singer. He’s also a part-time drummer and keyboard player.

The plunge takes place on Laurelton Blvd in Long Beach on Sunday, Feb. 12, at 2:30 p.m. It was started in memory of Paulie Bradley, who died from cancer at 4.

Top: Harlen Werner, 9, with his dog, Shockey. (courtesy photos)

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