FORT WAYNE RESIDENTS, STUDENTS PREPARE TO BRAVE COLD FOR SPECIAL OLYMPICS INDIANA

Polar Plunge fundraiser coming to University of St. Francis campus

Brave souls and warm hearts from the Fort Wayne area are preparing for an icy dip as the 2010 Polar Plunge to benefit Special Olympics Indiana returns for the third year to the University of St. Francis campus. On Saturday, February 13, participants will kick off Polar Plunge month and “take the Plunge” into Mirror Lake, raising vital funds for Special Olympics Indiana athletes in their community and throughout 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. Beginning the last weekend of January and continuing throughout the month of February, 10 Polar Plunge events will be held across the state. Dozens of local residents and students are expected to turn out this year for this wintry event, which was first introduced to the Fort Wayne area in 2008.

In order to plunge, participants must raise a “bear” minimum of $75 ($50 minimum with a student ID). Awards are given for those who raise the most funds for Special Olympics Indiana. This wet and wacky event also includes prizes for the best costume, incentives for dollars raised and an After Splash Bash. As the University of St. Francis event is one of four Polar Plunges to be held on a college campus this year, the Plunge will feature a Campus Challenge, in which a special award will be given to the largest campus group of Plunge participants (i.e., fraternity, sorority, sports team, club, etc.).

“People all over Indiana are fans of Special Olympics,” said Michael “the Icicle” Furnish, president / CEO of Special Olympics Indiana and veteran Polar Plunge participant. “They know about our program and believe in our cause. An event like the Polar Plunge presents people with an opportunity to make their support official by getting involved in a fun activity that really makes a difference in the lives of our deserving athletes.”

Participants are urged to pre-register online for the Polar Plunge at www.soindiana.org. Walk up registration will begin at 10:30 a.m. at Mirror Lake Park located on the campus of the University of St. Francis in Fort Wayne. The Polar Plunge will kick off at 12 p.m. (noon) outside with Opening Ceremonies featuring a costume contest. After the ceremony, participants will take to the water.

Plungers are invited to warm up immediately afterward at the After Splash Bash party located at Hutzel Athletic Center. While complimentary hot food and beverages will be available for Plungers, a nominal $5 fee will be charged for guests to partake of food and beverage.

The 2010 Polar Plunge events also feature another new prize, introduced in honor of the Indiana Knights of Columbus’ continued support of Special Olympics. An award will be given to the Indiana Knights of Columbus district(s) in each of the following categories—most Plunge participants overall and most funds raised overall. In addition, the Super Plunger program will return for the second year, daring 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 27.

The Waynedale News Staff

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