Special Olympics Seeks Individuals, Teams to Take a Cold Plunge in Northern California

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It might seem crazy to get in the water in the middle of winter, but that's what Special Olympics' event organizers are hoping hundreds of people will do across Northern California on February 28. The events are being held in three locations to raise money for Special Olympics Northern California so that thousands of athletes with developmental disabilities can continue to train and compete in 2009. Individuals and teams are invited to sign up now.

Getting ready to plunge

Kaiser's Thrivin' for some Divin'

It might seem crazy to get in the water in the middle of winter, but that's what Special Olympics' event organizers are hoping hundreds of people will do across Northern California on February 28. The events are being held in three locations to raise money for Special Olympics Northern California so that thousands of athletes with developmental disabilities can continue to train and compete in 2009. Individuals and teams are invited to sign up now by going to Plunge Now for Special Olympics

Trevor Pratt is among the many hearty souls who will be "Freezin' for a Reason" for the Polar Plunge™ He and his team "Kaiser's Thrivin' for some Divin'" have signed up to take the plunge and enjoy the fun, entertainment and warm post plunge party. But, it's not all about the fun for Trevor, whose brother, Jared, has personally benefited from the Special Olympics program.

"Most people don't really understand Special Olympics," Trevor explained. "It's not a one-time event - it's a lifestyle. These athletes get up in the morning, and that's all they think about - they train all year-round. It's where their friends are, and it's where they can get healthy and feel included. It's the least I can do to jump in the Bay and raise some money so more athletes can experience Special Olympics. "

Dorreen Roth, a long-time Special Olympics coach agrees. She and her team "Dorreen's Dorky Ducks" have signed up to take the Fresno plunge at Millerton Lake. "I'm plunging because I know what the Special Olympics program does for so many children and adults, " Roth explained. "Special Olympics is their fun in life, and it really transforms how they perceive themselves and how they approach life."

The Polar Plunge™ is organized much like a walk-a-thon. Participants will get donations from people who sponsor them to enter the chilly water. Many plungers create personal web pages to seek donations from friends and family. To support the entrants, see how the pledges are accumulated or to become a Polar Plunger, visit Plunge Now for Special Olympics and click on one of the plunge locations.

"We wanted to create a memorable and fun event for people experience something new while raising money to continue our Special Olympics program in the Bay Area," said Mary Beth McMahon, Executive Vice President of Special Olympics Northern California. She added that the Polar Plunge™ has been a good fundraiser for Special Olympics in other areas of the country as well as Fresno and Lake Tahoe. "More than anything, charitable giving should be an experience. A good one," she explained.

"I'm a plunger, and I'm bringing my battery-operated socks," said Deb Agpawa, who is leading a team of fellow bus drivers from Liberty Union Schools in the East Bay. "I hope lots of people come out and watch us turn blue for a good cause."

Although plungers are not required to totally submerge, they must register for the activity and sign a waiver. People also should be healthy enough to participate and take precautionary safety measures - including wearing shoes to protect their feet from debris before entering the water.

Members of law enforcement agencies and the California Highway Patrol will be plunging at each event. Local news reporter John Sasaki from KTVU, Channel 2 and KKIQ/KKDV morning DJ Wayne Coy will be taking the plunge at the Crissy Field location. All events will begin at 11 a.m. with the plunge at noon, costume contest and a post-plunge party. A fourth Polar Plunge™ will be Saturday, March 21 at Zephyr Cove, South Lake Tahoe.

POLAR PLUNGE EVENTS
WHAT: "Freezin' for a Reason" 2009 Polar Plunge™ benefiting Special Olympics Northern California
WHERE: Crissy Field, San Francisco; Millerton Lake, Fresno; Noyo Bay, Fort Bragg
WHEN: Saturday, Feb. 28, 10 a.m., registration; noon - Plunge, costume contest and post plunge party
PARTY LOCATIONS: San Francisco - Sports Basement, 610 Old Mason St.; Fresno -Mountain Casino in the Mountain Buffet, 8184 Table Mountain Rd., Friant
COST: Free to Plungers raising $100 or more; $10 for guests; $5 under 12

About Special Olympics Northern California
Special Olympics Northern California is a free year-round sports training and competition program for children and adults with developmental disabilities. More than 13,000 athletes compete in over 170 competitions throughout the region in 15 sports. Find out how you can be a fan and visit http://www.SONC.org

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