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Polar Plunge

Students attack the water in the 2009 Polar Plunge

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Polar Plunge set for Feb. 12

Event aims to raise $30,000 for Special Olympics 

Ice cold water will be in abundance on Saturday, Feb. 12, during the fourth annual Ohio University Polar Plunge charity event at the Stroud's Run State Park beach in Athens.

The event, which has a patriotic theme this year, is part of a statewide fundraiser for Special Olympics Ohio (SOOH), a non-profit organization that provides yearlong training and competition to more than 23,000 children and adults with intellectual disabilities.

Special Olympics Ohio is affiliated with about 200 local organizations throughout the state and annually sponsors 75 sporting events that culminate with seven statewide championship events in Columbus.

The Polar Plunge is co-sponsored by Phi Kappa Theta Fraternity and the Ohio University Police Department. Registration is 11 a.m.-1 p.m., followed by a costume contest at 1 p.m., followed by the plunge at 1:30 p.m. Participants must donate at least $50 to plunge.  Prizes will be awarded to all participants.

After the plunge, a post-plunge party will take place from 2-4:30 p.m. at Buffalo Wild Wings in Athens. Guests can pay $10 to attend the post-event party.

A "Too Chicken To Plunge" T-shirt and admission to the post-plunge party can be purchased for $30. In addition, there will be polar bear cut outs on sale for $1 at Buffalo Wild Wings. All proceeds will go directly to Special Olympics Ohio. Several Special Olympics athletes will be participating in this year's event.

Raising money and awareness for Special Olympics is always the goal of the event each year and Paige Ludwig, marketing and development director at Special Olympics Ohio, said this year's goal is to raise $320,000 in 11 plunges around the state.

"We encourage all of the students and community members to support this cause and invite them to plunge with us," Ludwig said. "The Athens event keeps growing each year and we anticipate another big crowd on Feb. 12."

In 2010, nine plunges raised about $300,000 for SOOH, which included more than $23,000 raised during the Ohio University event. The Ohio University event raised $8,000 in 2008, $16,000 in 2009 and has a goal of $30,000 this year.

Cathy Hart, a communication officer at OUPD, said the Polar Plunge is a community event that everyone can enjoy whether he or she decides to plunge or not. She said those who are not plunging can still donate money and time to the event and cheer on plungers at the lake.
"So far, we are ahead of last year's registration numbers with almost 100 people already signed up," Hart said. "The numbers are looking up and I'm very optimistic about this year's participation numbers because the Phi Kappa Theta guys do a great job of recruiting each year."

For more information on the Polar Plunge or to register visit the Special Olympics website at www.sooh.org or contact Phi Kappa Theta event coordinator Ryan Wright at 740-418-1755 or rw142806@ohio.edu.

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