By Jenna Abbruzzese
SEASIDE HEIGHTS—”It’s a wonderful feeling, for 10 seconds of jumping in cold water, the adrenaline rush and knowing that we provide for those athletes on a daily basis, it’s completely worth it,” Polar Plunge participant Samantha Reese said.
On Saturday, February 21, more than 6,000 generous and fearless people participated in the Seaside Heights Polar Plunge, raising over 2 million dollars—$2,025,511.00 to be exact.
The Polar Plunge takes place in different states across the US. The organization, Special Olympics New Jersey, helps raise money to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for young kids and adults with intellectual disabilities.
The organization makes the fundraising more fun than just donating money. The participants jump or run into a body of water with freezing temperatures. Some might think it’s a crazy and unsafe idea, but the amount of people who sign up to participate for this great cause is incredible.
“Doing something like this is fun, and it’s also for a good cause,” said Hannah Hoffman, one of the thousands of participants.
Some people try to make the cause more fun than it already is by dressing up in crazy costumes or by just wearing unique pieces of clothing. “We have our health and we can do these things so we’re here to help people be able to do sports,” Patricia McLarnon of Dumont, NJ said.
Each state in which the plunge takes place has a personal goal that it wants to achieve so each year the organization can raise more and more money.
Even celebrities take part in this immense cause. TV host, Jimmy Fallon, has been seen taking a dip in the Atlantic Ocean to be a part of the Polar Plunge and this past Saturday, Lady Gaga and her recent fiancé participated in the plunge in Chicago.
The idea of running into freezing water in a bathing suit in the middle of winter sounds crazy, hazardous and insane, but more people participate voluntarily than you may think.
Having the power and opportunity to change someone’s life for the better is an amazing experience and the Polar Plunge makes it more enjoyable than just donating money. By signing up, that is already donating money, and the Special Olympics New Jersey is a great cause that has already touched so many lives.
“It’s crazy, but fun,” says Ryan Hanson, an annual participant and contributor to the organization.