Polar Plunge Special Olympics fundraiser raises $80,000
By Sue E. Steiniger
Jumping from the sunshine into 28-degree lake water may not sound like fun – unless it was part of the annual Polar Plunge in LakeSaint Louis, held Saturday, Feb. 2. For the 10th year, the swim party combined a costume party with a swim party, raising money for the Special Olympics.
A crowd of 335 brave souls clad in swimwear and wild costumes were primed and ready to jump into the freezing lake of Lake Sainte Louise – for a cause. An equal number of spectators and supporters – the smart and dry ones – were on hand to cheer them on. The event serves as a charitable fundraiser to benefit Special Olympic Missouri athletes (SOMO). The Polar Plunge took place at the Lake St. Louis Community Association Clubhouse between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
The goal for this year’s event was $113,400. According to Jennifer Brown, development director for SOMO, preliminary numbers from the event as well as on-line pledges came to more than $80,000, still shy of the full goal. But Brown is confident the goal can still reached.
“We anticipate much more (funds) once the final numbers are in,” Brown said. She said online registration is still open and people can donate at somo.org/plunge.
“We want to thank the public for all the support over the years,” Brown said. “We are celebrating 10 years and want to challenge more people to come out for future plunge events to support our Special Olympians.”
The 2013 Polar Plunge was hosted by LakeSaint Louis, O’Fallon and Wentzville police departments and St. Charles County Sheriff’s Department. Members of area police departments participated as individual and/or team polar plungers. Proceeds will support Special Olympics year-round sports program for more than 7,200 special needs athletes in the St. Louis Metro Area.
The LakeSaint Louis event was one of 13 Special Olympics Polar Plunge events held around the state. Organizers hope to break the $1 million mark statewide for SOMO.