COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — People from all over the Columbus area gathered at Lower.com Field Saturday to take the Polar Plunge and willingly jumped into freezing cold water to support athletes with Special Olympics Ohio.
“It’s really cold but it’s always awesome,” says Mike Hlavsa. “This is my fourth time jumping. I love this cause and we love giving back to the community.”
Participants raised around $216,000 for Special Olympics Ohio. To be able to jump in, individuals or teams had to raise at least $75.
While it was cold, it was all for a good cause.
For those who have never taken the plunge, Charlie Murphy explained, “It is instant pain, pure numbness, and then exhilaration from the endorphin rush.”
“It is a crowd-funding fundraiser that allows individual participants to do their own fundraising, but then when they show up, they get to jump into a pool that is just behind me,” says Christine Hoyer, the chief development officer for Special Olympics Ohio. “It’s all to support all of the programming that Special Olympics Ohio does.”
This year, there were around 500 participants.
Hoyer said so many people love to support their cause by participating in the fun and freezing event.
“When I first joined the organization, I said, ‘Who wants to jump into a body of water that’s freezing during the winter months?’ But I’ll tell you it’s been quite a surprise to see the number of people that like this event and like to support our athletes,” Hoyer said.
After jumping in the water, people could head to warming tents to get changed and raise their body temperature back up.
But for plunger Murphy, the best remedy for the cold: “Run up to the bar and get me a drink.”