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900 take Polar Plunge, raise $200K for Special Olympics

9:22 AM, Feb. 24, 2013  |  Comments

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HOWARD - For about 900 people, Saturday's plans included a dip in the frigid water behind the Watering Hole, all in the name of supporting Special Olympics.

The annual Freezin' For A Reason Polar Plunge is one of 12 fundraisers around the state aimed at helping Special Olympics. Organizers estimated the Howard event raised about $200,000 again this year.

Saturday was the 13th installment of the event in the Green Bay area. Jumpers (also known as "plungers") raised money as individuals, teams and in other ways - like throwing an employer into a square of water cut in the ice.

Even people who didn't jump, affectionately known as "chickens," raised money for the cause.

"It's always been a pretty successful event," said event organizer Kathy Walker. "We started with about $30,000 the first year, but in the last five years we have really exploded. Our final numbers for the 2012 plunge were $200,000... This community has supported us and it's grown exponentially."

The allure?

"There is that fear factor involved, and it is that bucket list kind of thing," Walker said. "Once you come out of that water it's such an adrenaline rush and you realize a little bit of fear leading up to the polar plunge was so worth it.... and you know what you were just willing to do goes to benefit 1,000 local athletes in northeast Wisconsin. "

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