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Polar Plunge at Mirror Lake to be one of 40 celebration events


In just a few days, brave souls and warm hearts will take an icy dip into Mirror Lake as part of the 2009 Polar Plunge to benefit Special Olympics Indiana. On Saturday, February 14, participants, including the mayor of Fort Wayne, Tom Henry, will celebrate Valentine’s Day by “taking the Plunge” to raise vital funds for Special Olympics Indiana programs in northeast Indiana and across the state.

As Special Olympics Indiana’s signature fundraising event, the Polar Plunge invites Hoosier residents to be “freezin’ for a reason” by raising funds and awareness for adults and children with intellectual disabilities. This year, Special Olympics Indiana is celebrating its 40th Anniversary. In honor of this notable mark, 10 Plunge events, including the Fort Wayne dip, will be held throughout the state during the month of February as part of a celebratory countdown to the 40th Annual Special Olympics Indiana Summer Games, held June 5-7 on the campus of Indiana State University in Terre Haute.

Returning to Mirror Lake on the campus of the University of St. Francis for the second year, the Area 3 Polar Plunge hopes to lose its status as a “Rookie Plunge” and include 55 participants and reach a goal of $10,000. In 2008, the Fort Wayne event included 30 participants that raised $5,000 for Special Olympics Indiana. Last year, Polar Plunge events raised more than $200,000 for Special Olympics Indiana statewide. The goal for 2009 is $290,000.

“We are pleased to offer an expanded number of Polar Plunge events in honor of our 40th Anniversary,” said Michael “the Icicle” Furnish, president / CEO of Special Olympics Indiana and veteran Polar Plunge participant. “In 2009, we are celebrating that we are 40 years young. Participating in the Polar Plunge is one way that community members can show that they are ready to work with us to continue to improve the lives for people with intellectual disabilities throughout the next 40 years.”

It’s not too late to participate! Those interested can sign up online through the day of the Plunge at www.soindiana.org. Walk-up registration will be available the day of the event beginning at 10:30 a.m. at Mirror Lake Park, located on the campus of the University of St. Francis (2701 Spring Street, Fort Wayne, 46808). Each participant must raise a “bear minimum” of at least $75 to take the plunge, and all funds raised by the event benefit Special Olympics Indiana. Participants will receive long-sleeved event t-shirts and can also earn additional incentive prizes at designated fundraising levels (view prizes at www.soindiana.org).

The Polar Plunge will kick off at noon with Opening Ceremonies featuring a costume contest and the lighting of the Special Olympics Indiana “Flame of Hope” by a local Special Olympics Indiana athlete. Opening Ceremonies will include celebrity emcee Alyssa Ivanson, weekend anchor and health reporter for WANE-TV NewsChannel 15. After the ceremony, participants will take to the water, led by Mayor Henry.

Plungers are invited to warm up immediately afterward at the After Splash Bash party, which features complimentary hot food and beverages for Plungers at Hutzell Athletic Center (located on the campus of the University of St. Francis, 2701 Spring Street, Fort Wayne, 46808). A nominal $5 fee will be charged for guests to partake of food and beverage.

The 2009 Polar Plunge events also feature a new Super Plunger program, which dares Plunge participants to go beyond the call of duty by raising a minimum of $4,000 and participating in at least two Plunges at different sites, including the Indianapolis Plunge on February 28.

The Waynedale News Staff
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The Waynedale News Staff

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