Fort Wayne Polar Plunge raises money for Special Olympics - ABC21: Your Weather Authority

Fort Wayne Polar Plunge raises money for Special Olympics

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA 21) -

Around 80 plungers from all over the region gathered at Fort Wayne's Matea Park Saturday to take The Polar Plunge.

The Polar Plunge is where brave participants wade or swim through an icy pond, and then make their way back to shore as quickly as possible.

This year's event drew a record crowd, despite the sub-freezing temperatures.

Folks who participated say it's an exhilarating experience.

“Every person you see coming out of the water looks like they're either smiling from terror or from fun,” says Fort Wayne Polar Plunge chair Jake Pickett.

“It was a little chilly,” says Lindsey Foust, representing North Side High School Champions Together. “Honestly, the water part wasn't so bad. It was getting out of the water and walking back to the building where it was like needles everywhere."

Organizers say those taking the plunge are “freezin' for a reason” as the event helps raise money for Special Olympics Indiana. The organization helps Special Olympics athletes train locally and compete at the state level, with no charge to them or their families.

"Now the plunge has been going on statewide for gosh, 15-20 years,” says Pickett. “And it actually goes on nationally. A lot of the state programs do it. I don't know how they came up with it. But it's one of those things that gets people's attention. Gets people excited. And it's sort of a badge of honor if anything. And raises money for a good cause."

Organizers say $14,000 was raised for the organization this year, which marks a new record for the Fort Wayne event.

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