Registration under way for 2015 Polar Plunge

Staff Report

The Law Enforcement Torch Run Polar Plunge to benefit Special Olympics Illinois will begin at noon, Saturday, March 7, at Olson Lake at Rock Cut State Park, 7223 W. Lane Road.

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 on various weekends in February and March as part of the annual Polar Plunge.

The Polar Plunge is one of the premier fundraising events for the Law Enforcement Torch Run and Special Olympics Illinois. In 2014, more than $2.1 million was raised by 7,352 plungers statewide; in 16 years, $12.3 million has been raised by more than 47,000 plungers. The event has grown from one location in 1999 to 20 locations across the state.

The Polar Plunge season 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 — on Feb. 20 and 21 at Northwestern University’s North Beach in Evanston, Illinois.

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.

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. For every $500 a plunger raises, he or 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 fundraising 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.

Individuals and teams can register for the Plunge on the Special Olympics Illinois website at http://www.plungeillinois.com or by contacting local organizer Debbie Kelly at (815) 288-2939.

From the Feb. 4-10, 2015, issue

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