Second Polar Plunge Jan. 28

Kara McIntyre

For the second year in a row, Special Olympics Texas will host its Polar Plunge at the Wellness Center on Jan. 28 at 10 a.m. Whoever is ready to freeze for a reason can register online — $60 for adults and $30 for youth (under 19 years old), either registered individually or in teams. All proceeds go toward providing world-class sports training for more than 460 children and adults with intellectual disabilities in the North Texas area. 

“It is a great honor to work with Special Olympics Texas and it is a great opportunity for us to give back to our community in return for what they give us,” Caleb Hannon, acting director of recreational sports and wellness center, said. “Luckily we have a perfect pool for the event as it runs year round, is shallow enough for all participants, and has a great atmosphere for spectators to watch and enjoy the event.”

Mike Strickland, Special Olympics Texas North Texas area director, said Texas adopted the Polar Plunge more than a decade ago from cities up north.

“Dallas was the first area to do it from Texas, and I jumped on board because it’s a pretty unique fundraiser,” Strickland said. “They now make every area in the state of Texas participate.”

An average of $3,000 is raised each year that the Polar Plunge is held, and 91 cents of each dollar raised goes directly to Special Olympics Texas. 

“Some of the difficulties and trials that our athletes have to go through when jumping into the cold water, like your senses being taken away and the first struggle you have with your muscles hitting the cold water, while of course is nothing compared to what those with special needs go through, is still a brief look into that hardship,” Strickland said.  

Additional funds raised will qualify participants for various incentive prizes, including a six-pack cooler, stainless steel water bottle and a fleece blanket for each donation level they meet. If participants are brave, they can wear a costume and jump into the cold water to have a chance to win Best Costume. Other award categories include Top Fundraising Plunger and Top Fundraising Team. 

The Polar Plunge allows Special Olympics Texas and the Wellness Center to work together in a way that they normally wouldn’t get to, according to Hannon.

“Special Olympics is much like our department in helping individuals find their ‘wellness’ in life.  We strive to provide our students, faculty, staff and community the essentials to reach the five sections of wellness as the Special Olympics does for their athletes and volunteers.  Working with their organization allows us to overlap our missions and put together events that will reach deeper in to the community.”