West Chicago, Illinois: March 27, 2013 -- Earlier this month, West Chicago Police Detective Robbi Peterson and his 9-year old daughter Taylor took the Polar Plunge, jumping into the icy cold water of Loon Lake in Silver Springs State Park outside of Yorkville, to kick start the West Chicago Police Department's efforts in the annual Torch Run that benefits Special Olympics. They raised $600 alone in what is being called the "winter's coolest event".
The Polar Plunge is held in multiple communities throughout Illinois generally the 1st and 2nd week of March. This was the 10th year an event was held at Loon Lake, with just under 400 people participating and raising a total of $93,000. All across the state, nearly 6,700 warm-hearted participants also took the plunge and collectively raised more than $1.65 million for Special Olympics Illinois.
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The Polar Plunge precedes the annual Torch Run which is generally held later in the spring. According to the Special Olympics Illinois website, the Law Enforcement Torch RunŽ is the single largest year-round fundraising event benefiting Special Olympics Illinois. The annual intrastate relay and its various fundraising projects have two goals: to raise money and to gain awareness for the athletes who participate in Special Olympics Illinois. The Law Enforcement Torch RunŽ has raised nearly $28 million over 27 years while increasing awareness of Special Olympics Illinois athletes and their accomplishments.
The West Chicago Police Department finds ways throughout the year to keep Special Olympics Illinois top of mind. Cop on the Top, another event typically held in May, finds members of the Police Department perched on the rooftop of a local Dunkin Donuts raising awareness and donations; and on July 13, 2013 an annual car show which will be open to all makes and models of cars will take place at Reed-Keppler Park from 10:00 a.m. -- 2:00 p.m. during Railroad Days. There will be 13 categories of judging and prizes to the top car in each category, in addition to raffles, giveaways and a DJ. The entry fee for each participating car is $15, with all proceeds going to Special Olympics Illinois.
Special Olympics Illinois is a non-profit, tax-exempt organization that raises funds through private means, such as donations and grants. Special Olympics Illinois is accredited by Special Olympics, Inc. which operates in all 50 states and in more than 180 countries. Illinois supports nearly 21,000 athletes with intellectual disabilities and more than 6,000 young athletes ages 2-7 with and without intellectual disabilities annually from communities throughout the state.
For more information, or to get involved, visit www.soill.org.