Rochester Polar Plunge draws big turnout

Rochester Polar Plunge draws big turnout
80 Polar plungers freeze for Special Olympics
nCharlotte, N.Y. (WHAM) – Thousands of people braved the cold and took a swim in the chilly waters Sunday, for the 18th annual Polar Plunge at Ontario Beach Park.

The Polar Plunge kicked off with the traditional Rochester Law Enforcement torch run.

Mary Richardson’s son is a Special Olympics athlete. She said “The Special Olympics has given my son Dylan here so many opportunities for so many different things such as swimming , basketball, and we couldn’t be more thankful. So it’s important for us to be here.”

"We have a lot of special Olympic athletes that come into the studio," said participant Jamie Lesowske. "We think this is such a cool way to fundraise, and it's a little more fun than just writing a check."

Dozens dive into cold Deschutes for Bend’s Polar Plunge

The Rochester Polar Plunge is the largest Polar Plunge for Special Olympics across the state.

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Polar plungers, friends and family braved the cold to raise money for Special Olympics of Indiana Saturday.

“Our athletes need a purpose and this a purpose for them to have fun and enjoy,” Steuben County Assistant Coordinator Penny Burlew said.

80 plungers joined together at Metea County park to celebrate more than $13,000 in donations. Saturday’s event was one of 16 plunges across the state.

In addition to the polar plunge, there was a silent auction, costume contest and fundraising awards.
80 Polar plungers freeze for Special Olympics
80 Polar plungers freeze for Special Olympics

“It’s very impactful for our athletes,” Special Olympics Regional Manager Julie Burkholder explained.”Our athletes don’t pay to participate in anything. So not only does it show support for them, it helps them raise the key funds to help them participate in sports.”

The event, emceed by NewsChannel 15’s Rob Lydick, started with a costume contest. Before too long though, it was time to jump in.

This is the fourth year for the Peel event and it has already raised $114,000. This year, combined with a Polar Plunge at Sheridan College on March 8, the goal is to raise $50,000 for the Special Olympics 50th Anniversary. The money is distributed to athletes who can’t afford the registration fees, it assists with uniforms and it goes toward supporting events.

Thousands jump into Lake Ontario for a good cause at Polar Plunge

“I’m super excited,” Advocate Nicole Schieber said enthusiastically. “Because I can’t wait to get in the water!”

Polar Plunge on Isle Of Palms this weekend will benefit SC Special Olympics

A handful of polar plungers jumped in at a time, making their way to firefighters, before turning around and heading back. A group from North Side High School took the dip to support Champions Together events at the school.

“Our kids come out and cheer everyone on and it’s such great sportsmanship and it’s a way to get everyone feeling they’re a part of the school,” Kirk Doehrmann said.

The Legends wore wrestling singlets, showing support for wrestler Dakota Ault, who lost his father ahead of Saturday’s semi state tournament.

“Oh!” Jordyn Rigler exclaimed about the cold water. “I think that’s the best description. I was not expecting the shock.”

“But it was amazing,” Burlew said after the dip. “It was fun. Seeing the kids and athletes out there smiling, it makes freezin’ for a reason worth it.”

Posted in Rochester