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Annual Polar Plunge benefits Special Olympics Indiana

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Jumping into freezing water in the middle of winter may seem like a crazy idea, but it’s a crazy idea for a good cause.

Dozens of people have signed up to rush into freezing water at Eagle Creek Park for day two of Special Olympics Indiana’s annual Polar Plunge.

The event raises money to benefit thousands of Special Olympics athletes across the state.

Jeff Mueller, president and CEO of Special Olympics Indiana, says Saturday’s Polar Plunge follows what was a great event on Friday.

“We had 13 area high schools bring over 350 students to go take the icy plunge with us. Yesterday, those students raised $50,000 for us,” Mueller says.

Saturday’s event is open to the public, according to Mueller.

“We hope to have 500 plungers here today. For a two-day total, our [fundraising] goal is $150,000,” Mueller says. “We’ll have an early plunge at nine a.m., and then we’ll continue to register people, and our final plungers will be going in just before noon today.”

Mueller says that, although the number of athletes participating in Special Olympics Indiana has decreased because of the coronavirus pandemic, the fundraiser is vitally important to the organization.

“Before COVID, we served over 18,000 athletes across our great state. We’re [now] around 10,000 because of restrictions here and there,” Mueller says. “But, as we’re starting to open back up and get our athletes back into action and on the playing field, we certainly could use the donations to help us get our local programs back up and running again. So, we hope to get our 18,000 athletes, all of them back on the playing field here this year.”

For more information on the Polar Plunge, visit the Special Olympics Indiana website.