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Polar Plunge to benefit Special Olympics

JENNA-LEY HARRISON
Staff Reporter

 
Officials from local law enforcement agencies, schools and fire departments are set to take a frigid plunge, some in costume, Saturday at Sally’s YMCA in Denver.
The Polar Plunge event, sponsored this year by the North Carolina Law Enforcement Torch Run, benefits North Carolina Special Olympics and also falls on the one-year anniversary of the Sally’s Y grand opening.
It’s also not too late to sign-up for the event, which requires a minimum donation of $50 per plunger, according to event official Sgt. Brent Hipp with the N.C. State Highway Patrol.
All donations collected by Torch Run officials will go to benefit Special Olympics programs across the state, specifically those smaller programs in need of additional assistance, Hipp said.
The money will be used to cover the cost of uniforms, equipment, meals and travel/lodging for Special Olympics athletes. Participants with the program are never asked to pay for any expenses, Hipp said.
Both in-state and out-of-state troopers plan to plunge Saturday, along with representatives of the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, Lincoln County Schools Superintendent Dr. Sherry Hoyle, N.C. Rep. Jason Saine and Lincolnton Fire Chief Mike Lee. Additional residents and school principals have also signed up for the event, officials said.
Plungers will have the option of either jumping into the Y pool or sliding into the water by way of one of the facility’s two slides.
While last year’s participants stemmed from areas across Lincoln and Mecklenburg County, this year’s event was specifically designed for Lincoln County, said Celeste Frazier, program coordinator for Lincoln County Special Olympics.
In addition, prizes will be awarded for the highest donation and best costume, Hipp said.
Frazier noted that even those individuals who opt not to plunge can still participate in the fundraiser by raising donations. She said last year a girl raised $1,000 alone without plunging. The donation was nearly a third of the total amount raised from the event.
“It’s such a worthy cause,” Frazier said.
Musical entertainment and refreshments will also be on-hand at the event.
In addition to the plunge, Frazier is looking forward to another Special Olympics event set to take place in April at East Lincoln High School. Students, teachers and parents alike will be encouraged to attend The Youth & Educators Summit. The goal of the event is to determine ways of unifying the special-needs population with the rest of the county’s population.
“We don’t want to be separate anymore,” Frazier said.
Polar Plunge registration is from 11 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. Saturday. Plungers will hit the water at 1 p.m. sharp. Anyone interested in setting up a personal fundraising page for the event can visit www.firstgiving.com/sonc. For additional information or to register, contact Brent Hipp at (704) 740-7425 or visit www.polarplungenc.com.

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