FORT WAYNE — The Fort Wayne Polar Plunge for Special Olympics lured 253 plungers and raised more than $54,000.
“Those are both new records for this event,” said Jake Pickett, event chair. “We had 120 more plungers and doubled our money raises compared to last year.”
The fundraiser chose a new home this year, at Camp Red Cedar, 3900 Hursh Road, Fort Wayne. The 57-acre camp with 10-acre lake boasts an “inclusive environment for people of all abilities.”
The Polar Plunge raises funds for state and local Special Olympics programs and generates awareness of the power of Special Olympics, which allows children and adults with intellectual disabilities to live active lives through socialization, exercise and friendly competition.
More than 17,000 athletes participate in at least one sport through Special Olympics Indiana.
The top fundraiser was Alan Bodenstein from Carroll High School Unified ($4,040) and the top team was Carroll High School Unified. The largest team was East Allen County Schools with 30 plungers. “They, specifically East Allen University, perennially are one of largest teams and highest fundraisers,” Pickett said.
Top 10 teams, in terms of funds raised, were:
• Carroll Unified (Athletes and coaches from Carroll High School)
• Benchmark Polar Bears (Benchmark Human Services, including CEO Doug Beebe)
• IU Health Fort Wayne (including CEO Brian Bauer)
• Noble County Conquerors (consisting of Special Olympics Noble County athletes and supporters)
• Allen County Arctic Blast (consisting of Special Olympics Allen County athletes and supporters)
• Rachel’s Plungers (also consisting of Special Olympics Allen County athletes and supporters)
• East Allen County Schools United (students and teachers from East Allen University and Leo High School)
• Canterbury High School (students and teachers)
• East Allen County Special Olympics & Friends (consisting of individuals from Special Olympics East Allen County, Gigi’s Playhouse, and the Jackson R. Lehman YMCA)
• Road Scholars (consisting of individuals from all around the U.S., including Ohio, Wisconsin, Mississippi and Indiana)