Polar plungers brave icy waters to help Special Olympics
About a 100 people braved the icy waters of Nippersink Lake on Sunday during the Fox Lake Polar Plunge for Special Olympics.
The annual fundraiser, which traces its roots to 1999 in Lake Bluff, raises money to provide programing and events for more than 30,000 Special Olympics athletes in Illinois. Nearly $27 million has been raised by more than 87,000 plungers since then.
Jordan Feldman, Region B director of Special Olympics Illinois, said participants usually fall into two camps as to why they willingly leap into 34-degree water.
"Most of them just want to support a good cause, and for a lot of them this is something to check off their bucket list," he said.
Lori Smith was part of a group of 20 village of Mundelein employees or their friends and family who banded together to take part in the event. While they were still collecting pledges, she said they had pulled in over $5,200 so far.
"We go out together on Friday nights in costume to raise money," she said. This year's costume theme was "dearly departed celebrities of the past."
She ran in to the lake dressed as dressed as Dorothy from "The Wizard of Oz."
"I hope I'm going to be able to get out the water with these shoes on," she said of her ruby slippers.
Postscript: The shoes survived.