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LA CROSSE — March 1-2 wrapped up an annual fundraiser for Special Olympics, a statewide organization provides people with intellectual disabilities year-round sports training and competition.

People raise money and

This year marked the 15th event, which started in Lake Onalska; has since grown to communities throughout Wisconsin. “Approximately 9,350 individuals Plunged into Wisconsin's freezing cold bodies of water and raised more than $1.8 million in support of our athletes this winter.” Says Christina M. Harris

Director of Communications “Our first Polar Plunge was held 15 years ago in the La Crosse area with 315 Plungers raising just $30,000. Since then, approximately 89,000 Plungers have been Freezin' for a Reason at one of 134 Plunges and have raised around $16 million.”

The weekend long event starts Friday night with “Toss Your Boss” where employees can gather money to have their manager or employer jump in the icy cold water.

Saturday is the opening ceremonies with a 5K run/ walk; contest for the best costume, best jump, and most money raised by a group; there was also a photo booth set up, a wings eating contest, and an after event downtown.

Participants can either jump in cold water as a group or as individuals. They run into the river from the shore up to a dive team member receive, a high five or words of encouragement and run back to shore. From there, they have an opportunity to sit in a hot tub provided by one of the event sponsors, or change in a warm room (gender specific).

The La Crosse Area Dive Team oversaw the water operations by clearing the ice out of the dive area, checking in with plungers, and assisting with recovery of personal items such shoes, wigs, or sunglasses.

To learn more about the Polar Plunge, or Special Olympics visit their wesbitse: http://www.specialolympicswisconsin.org/general_info.html

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