Do the Polar Plunge At Home to benefit Special Olympics Illinois athletes

Do the Polar Plunge At Home to benefit Special Olympics Illinois athletes

  • John Pottebaum of Wheaton takes a slushy ride for the Law Enforcement Torch Run Polar Plunge. This year's event, which is virtual, takes place through March 14.

    John Pottebaum of Wheaton takes a slushy ride for the Law Enforcement Torch Run Polar Plunge. This year's event, which is virtual, takes place through March 14. Courtesy Special Olympics Illinois

 
 
Posted3/2/2021 6:00 AM

Instead of sloshing through puddles of melted snow, why not take a plunge instead?

Suburban residents from Fox Lake to Palatine to Oak Brook, as well as people all across the state, are invited to take part in the Law Enforcement Torch Run Polar Plunge, which runs through March 14. The event raises funds for Special Olympics Illinois athletes.

 

We talked to Alex McMillian, director of marketing for Special Olympics Illinois, about this year's Plunge and how it will be a little different from previous events.

Q: What is the Polar Plunge? Give a brief overview of who this event benefits.

A: Each year, the Law Enforcement Torch Run Polar Plunge presented by GEICO brings together thousands of warmhearted individuals from across the state to be bold and cold by jumping in ice cold water in the middle of winter.

It's a great way for everyone -- individuals, organizations and businesses -- to support Special Olympics Illinois. All funds raised go to provide programing and events for more than 23,100 traditional athletes and 13,000 Young Athletes participating in Illinois.

This year looks a little different. Participants are encouraged to take the Plunge At Home!

Q: Where do the majority of your donations come from?

A: The majority of donations primarily come from individual donors.

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Q: What are some of the programs this fundraiser benefits?

The Humphreys from Morrison get all decked out in their superhero costumes for the Law Enforcement Torch Run Polar Plunge. Proceeds from the virtual event benefit Special Olympics Illinois athletes.
The Humphreys from Morrison get all decked out in their superhero costumes for the Law Enforcement Torch Run Polar Plunge. Proceeds from the virtual event benefit Special Olympics Illinois athletes. - Courtesy Special Olympics Illinois

A: Each year, the Polar Plunge provides critical funding for the brave athletes of Special Olympics Illinois so they can compete in year-round sports and training, health and wellness, and leadership programs, including virtual programming and eSports.

As Special Olympics Illinois prepares to return to play, they are currently offering Virtual Sports. This unique virtual experience helps to engage athletes, coaches and families from across Illinois and give them the chance to showcase their athletic skill and their incredible "Let me be brave in the attempt" attitude!

It will also help keep the competitive spirit of our athletes alive. Currently, Virtual Sports is focused on floor hockey, floor hockey skills and snowshoeing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

eSports is organized, competitive video gaming, where athletes and Unified Partners compete and participate in a variety of multiplayer games. Competitions can include team-based or single-player strategy based or sports-focused games. Special Olympics Illinois is in the beginning stages of offering eSports programming for both online and in-person formats.

Q: Tell us about the 2021 Polar Plunge. How does it work?

A: This year, it's not WHERE you Plunge, or HOW you Plunge, but THAT you Plunge.

So, what does it look like to Plunge At Home? Glad you asked! Get in a snowball fight. Run through the sprinkler in your backyard. Have a family member spray you with the hose. Get creative and, of course, be safe.

And don't forget to commemorate how you Plunge At Home with photos and videos. The more fun you are having, the better. You can submit your photos and videos for the chance to be a part of our Plunge Recap on March 14. Email them to videos@soill.org.

Q: How can people participate?

A: The concept is simple: participants raise a minimum of $100 in donations from friends, family and co-workers in exchange for getting icy for the athletes of Special Olympics Illinois.

Individuals younger than 18 are able to participate, but must have a parent or guardian sign a waiver form.

Attire: Anything goes, except a wet suit. Costumes are encouraged.

Each plunger who raises $100 or more receives an exclusive 2021 Polar Plunge sweatshirt, plus the chance to win additional prizes for raising more money.

Polar Plunges for 2021 should be completed by March 14.

For more information and to register for the Plunge At Home, visit www.plungeillinois.com.

At-home plungers are encouraged to be safe with their Plunge At Home choices. Special Olympic Illinois utilizes a professional dive team in the water and emergency responders to ensure the safety of our participants at traditional Polar Plunges.

Do not attempt to jump into a lake, river or any other open body of water for the At Home Plunge. Participants should not do anything that could physically harm themselves or others. Special Olympics Illinois is not responsible for any injuries that occur while participating in the at-home Plunge.

Q: How can readers help if they can't participate in the event?

A: Those interested in supporting the 2021 Law Enforcement Torch Run Polar Plunge At Home can donate to the event via plungeillinois.com.

Q: What else should readers know?

A: Special Olympics Illinois thanks Statewide Presenting Polar Plunge Sponsor GEICO, as well as Statewide Silver Sponsor McAlister's Deli.

• • •

Law Enforcement Torch Run Polar Plunge

Benefits: Special Olympics Illinois athletes

When: Now through March 14

Where: Plunge At Home; individuals younger than 18 are able to participate, but must have a parent or guardian sign a waiver form.

Cost: Minimum of $100 in donations

Details: plungeillinois.com

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