Annual Polar Plunge in Fox Lake to benefit Special Olympics

Published: Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014 3:01 p.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014 11:50 p.m. CDT

Realizing it’s not easy to convince his colleagues to jump into a freezing lake in February, Woodstock Police Sgt. Tino Cipolla admitted he resorted to dirty tactics.

He asked the new guys.

“I think it comes down peer pressure,” Cipolla said, laughing. “And the fact that it’s a great cause.”
On Sunday, 15 members of the Woodstock Police Department – 11 officers and four police explorers – will be, as they say, “freezin’ for a reason” at the annual Polar Plunge. Proceeds from the event benefit Special Olympics programs and athletes.

All across McHenry County, teams are preparing for a nippy dip Sunday in freezing waters at Lakefront Park in Fox Lake. The Woodstock Police Department team is one of the top fundraisers for this event with $4,170 by Wednesday afternoon. Other high earners include a team from District 200 and students from Huntley.

Brenden Cannon, the director of Special Olympics District 13, which covers Lake and McHenry counties, said this year’s event should prove to be the district’s largest. To date, 444 plungers have signed up, but Cannon expects late registrants to push that number over 500.

“When people leave there, they’ve had a great time and they really want to do it again,” Cannon said. “I think the rewarding part is knowing what they’re raising the money for.”

Donations raised by plungers directly support the Special Olympics of Illinois.

In addition to the plunge, Sunday’s highlights include lunch for participants, music, awards for top fundraisers and a costume contest. Woodstock police officers are dressing as superheroes.
Cipolla’s advice for first-time plungers was to prepare for the worst, but expect the best.

“It’s gonna be cold,” he said. “No matter what you do it’s going to hurt, but the best part is as soon as you get in, you don’t feel it because you’re so numb. It’s fun.”

How to donate
Visit, http://shawurl.com/10f5 for information on the Polar Plunge and to donate to any of the teams.

If you go:
What: Polar Plunge for Special Olympics of Illinois.
When: 1 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 23.
Where: Lakefront Park, 71 Nippersink Blvd., Fox Lake.

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