Polar Plunge for Special Olympics Illinois March 3 at Olson Lake

Staff Report

It’s not every day that people are willing to “go jump in a lake” — particularly in the winter — let alone do so with thousands of other people, including members of the law enforcement community. But that’s exactly what will happen at noon, Saturday, March 3, at Rock Cut State Park’s Olson Lake in Loves Park as part of the annual Law Enforcement Torch Run Polar Plunge to benefit Special Olympics Illinois.

The event has grown from one location in 1999 to 20 locations across the state. The Polar Plunge series will kick off with a SUPER Plunge — where participants raise a minimum of $2,500 and plunge into Lake Michigan once an hour every hour for 24 hours — Feb. 24-25 at Northwestern University’s North Beach in Evanston, Ill.

Any adventurous soul is invited to join 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 (just no wet suits!) to jump in a lake. Each plunger must collect a minimum of $75 in donations that will be used to support Special Olympics programs in Illinois.

Individuals and teams can register for the plunge on the Special Olympics Illinois website at http://www.plungeillinois.com. Locally, those interested in more information about the Polar Plunge at Olson Lake can contact Debbie Kelly at (815) 288-2939.

Plungers are encouraged to form teams to spread the fun. Each team member must raise the minimum of $75 in donations and all team members’ individual fund-raising totals will be merged to form a combined team total. Teams are placed into divisions based on size and are awarded prizes for the most money raised.

All plungers will receive gifts, compete for prizes, and enjoy food and camaraderie with other chilly participants. The more money a plunger raises, the more chances he/she will have to win a seven-night trip for two to Riu Negril in Negril, Jamaica, courtesy of Riu Hotels and Resorts and Apple Vacations. Trip includes roundtrip airfare, transfers to and from resort, all meals, drinks and more. For every $500 a plunger raises, he/she will get an entry into the drawing for this grand prize.

The Illinois Law Enforcement Torch Run is the single largest year-round fund-raising vehicle 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, Ill., in June.

From the Jan. 25-31, 2012, issue

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