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Chicago Polar Plunge raises more than $1M

Published: Wednesday, March 12, 2014 8:12 a.m. CDT

CHICAGO – The annual Polar Plunge into Lake Michigan has broken its fundraising goals by raising more than $1 million for Special Olympics Chicago.

Organizers announced Tuesday the event attracted a record number of participants who plunged into the icy lake. More than 3,200 people braved the water March 2, an increase of more than 30 percent over last year.

Organizers credit the extra excitement to a challenge by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to "The Tonight Show" host Jimmy Fallon. The mayor challenged the comedian to join in the plunge when he heard Fallon wanted him to appear on the show. Both Fallon and Emanuel made the plunge, attracting attention to the event.

The money helps pay for transportation to competitions, uniforms and sports equipment for Special Olympics Chicago programs and athletes.

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