Local Polar Plungers raise $33,250 for Special Olympics

StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-11745010552205.jpg’, ‘Photo courtesy of www.icefish.neu.edu‘, ”);

$622,000 was raised statewide

NORMAL, Ill.—It’s not every day people are willing to “go jump in a lake”—particularly in the winter. But that’s exactly what happened on various weekends in February and March as part of the annual Law Enforcement Torch Run Polar Plunge®. The plunges raised a total of $622,000 for the athletes of Special Olympics Illinois.

Locally, $33,250 was raised by Polar Plungers at Olson Lake at Rock Cut State Park March 3.

The statewide event has grown from one location in 1999 to 16 locations across the state this year. In addition, the Second Annual SUPER Plunge (where dedicated plungers jump into Lake Michigan once an hour for 24 hours) was a huge success.

Thousands of adventurous souls, including college and high school students, joined law enforcement officers, as well as media and business and civic leaders from their community, by donning bathing suits, costumes or any clothing of choice to jump in a lake. Each plunger collected a minimum of $75 in donations that will be used to support Special Olympics programs in Illinois.

The more money a plunger raised, the more chances he/she had to win grand prizes. Grand prize winners were the following:

Julia Abell of Humboldt, a trip to Mexico presented by Apple Vacations and Iberostar Paraiso Maya;

Kerry Andrews of O’Fallon, a Florida vacation package provided by Fairfield Inn Resorts and Avis Rent-A-Car; and

Ann Lytle of Whittington, Chicago Cubs/White Sox tickets provided by Dunkin’ Donuts.

The Illinois Law Enforcement Torch Run is the single-largest, year-round fund-raising event benefiting Special Olympics Illinois. The annual intrastate relay and its various fund-raising projects have two goals: to raise money and increase public awareness for the athletes of Special Olympics Illinois.

Each year, more than 3,000 officers in Illinois run more than 1,500 miles carrying the Flame of Hope through the streets of their hometowns and deliver it to the State Summer Games in Normal in June.

from the March 21-28, 2007, issue

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