Special Olympics supporters find creative ways to take Polar Plunge

Special Olympics supporters finding creative ways to take Polar Plunge
Photo credit Maura Bruton

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) — Last year’s Polar Plunge for Special Olympics was one of the last in-person events before COVID-19 shut down large gatherings and now the charity has moved its fundraiser online.

That means instead of thousands of people jumping into Lake Michigan, supporters are plunging on their own.

Some are diving into snowbanks or standing in frigid bathtubs or buckets.

President Carolyn Daley put a dunk tank behind her Bucktown home and filled it with a garden hose.

When we spoke to her, she had four dunks under her belt and was on her way to 11 or 12 in the cold water.

She pledged to go in the tank once for every $1,000 her team raised.

Special Olympics Chicago is hoping to meet last year’s record of more than $2 million.

Daley pointed out the virtual nature means people all over the world can plunge, including a friend in Singapore who cannonballed into a pool.

While some may miss out on the camaraderie of shivering with of others at North Ave Beach she said this is a perfect time for someone too intimidated by past polar plunges.

The children’s charity has bought laptops for 25 Special Olympic coaches to connect with their athletes for cooking classes, bingo and other online events while they can’t meet in person.