Polar Plunge to raise money for Special Olympics Feb. 17


Donors will jump into a pool of frigid water outside of Wayside Central on Feb. 17 to raise money for Special Olympics Michigan.

Registration for the annual event begins at 10 a.m. and the plunge begins at 11:30 a.m.

Andrea Rachko, Special Olympics Michigan senior development director, said the goal this year is to raise $75,000 at the Mount Pleasant event and $1.15 million at events across Michigan. 

Rachko said that numbers are down from 500 participants last year to about 300 participants this year. Rachko is aiming to get 350 participants by the day of the event.

As of 9 p.m. Feb. 13, the Mount Pleasant Polar Plunge has raised $34,461 with 282 registered supporters, 50 teams and 789 donations for Special Olympics Michigan, according to the First Giving website for the event.

The Mount Pleasant Polar Plunge is one of 28 happening across Michigan this year. 

Rachko said the anticipation is the worst part about making the plunge.

"It's not as bad as it seems," she said. "Sometimes the water is warmer than the air temperature."

In 2017, the Mount Pleasant event reached its goal for an all-time high of $80,000 with 400 plungers, along with $1.2 million raised across Michigan by more than 4,000 plungers. 

The money raised from the event will go toward helping more than 23,000 athletes with intellectual disabilities compete in the Special Olympics Michigan. The money will help cut transportation fees and meal costs to help small community Special Olympics teams across the state.

Rachko said there is still plenty of time to sign up and participate in the plunge.

"Fundraising stays open through the event," she said. "We would love to reach our goal."