By Nicole LaBosco
Cold Water? Check. Warm hearts? Hundreds. Zany costumes? Absolutely. Florida sunshine? You’ve got it.
The Ninth Annual Polar Plunge took place at SeaWorld’s Aquatica on Saturday, Feb. 10. The plunge benefitted Special Olympics Florida, which is a non-profit organization that offers life-changing opportunities for both children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Special Olympics Florida currently serves more than 44,000 athletes.
In this year alone, just under $250,000 was raised. Currently, 79% of the 2018 Polar Plunge goal has been met with $246,092. The overall goal is $310,173. Participants (myself included) were “freezin’ for a very good reason” as they ran toward the roughly 70-degree water. With the temperature outside being in the mid- to upper 80s, the water felt pretty great. There were around 750 plungers who experienced the “thrill of the chill.”
As I rushed toward the water, I thought about how much courage the Special Olympics athletes must have on a daily basis. The Polar Plunge encourages all ages to come out and show support, and the event called participants “change agents” as they can make a difference.
In nine years, the Polar Plunge has raised about $2 million overall. It was an amazing sight to see so many participants who have spent time fundraising to support such a wonderful cause. Some participants were supporting family members, others were supporting friends, but all came together to support those Special Olympic athletes.
Also announced at the plunge was that in 2022, Florida has been selected to be the host of the National USA Games for the Special Olympics.
If you would like to donate, you may visit here: http://nonahood.to/polarplunge.