Icy Waters Do Not Deter Plungers

Linda Dela Cruz
Wednesday - March 04, 2009
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Special Olympics Hawaii is dipping its toes in a new fundraiser called the Polar Plunge from 8 to 10:30 a.m. March 28 at Hawaiian Waters Adventure Park.

First,30 tons of ice will be dumped into a section of the park’s Kapolei Kooler ride. Then costumed individuals and teams will take a plunge into the 40-degree water, which will be about 3.5 feet deep, before making their way to the exit point some 100 feet away.

“The idea is you get a little chilly but have a big warm heart at the end,” said Melissa Blake, director of LETR events.

The Polar Plunge is a registered event hosted by law enforcement agencies and Special Olympics programs throughout the world. Virginia raised more than $853,000 with about 3,200 participants in its 17th annual Polar Plunge last month.


This year in Rochester, N.Y., one radio station got all of its on-air personalities to raise money, compelling the DJ with the least number of pledges to take the plunge as part of the state’s annual chilly benefit.

“In Wisconsin, where it is very cold, it is a popular event,” Blake noted, adding that the state plans to host 11 Polar Plunges between February and March of this year. “It has been a very successful program on the Mainland; we just cannot help but try to pull it off in Hawaii.”

Polar Plunge participants must raise a minimum of $100 per person and will receive an event towel after the big dive. There also are other fundraising incentives.

“It’s always cool to do the next best thing. We would like to beat the $3 million that Wisconsin raised, and our goal this year is to make $50,000, which will stay in Hawaii,” Blake said.

As of press time, there were 100 plungers registered. Event organizers hope to sign up about 200 people total.

Special Olympics Hawaii provides sports training and athletic competitions for children and adults with intellectual disabilities to encourage the development of physical fitness and camaraderie with friends, families and fellow Special Olympic athletes.

For details, call 392-1588 or go to specialolymicshawaii.org.

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