3rd Annual Polar Plunge benefits MA Special Olympics

Polar Plunge benefitting the Special Olympics
Published: Mar. 13, 2023 at 8:28 AM EDT
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WESTFIELD, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) -On a sunny but chilly Sunday in Westfield, hundreds of people took on the freezing water temperatures in the 3rd annual Polar Plunge event benefiting the Special Olympics.

Polar Plunge Organizer Erica Ireland tells Western Mass News, they’ve doubled the number of polar plungers and donations from 2022.

“Last year it was very cold we had 153 polar plungers registered, this year we are double that number and we have doubled the amount of money that we have raised for Special Olympics,” said Erica Ireland, “We have raised over 65 thousand dollars for Special Olympics Massachusetts athletes.”

Western Mass News had our very own cold correspondent Libby James ready to take on her first polar plunge. We caught up with her moments before she took on the sub-20-degree waters.

“I’m already cold, my hands are freezing, but I’m ready for this.”

However, James was quick to run back to dry land shortly after a shivery swim.

“I can’t feel my toes, but it was good! it was good.”

Meanwhile, other polar plungers told Western Mass News, they wouldn’t mind going back for seconds.

“It felt amazing, I want to go again honestly.”

But most told us they’ll keep their polar plunge experience to a minimum.

“It was really cold, and I’m kind of just numb.”

“I’m going to agree with her. I was just numb.”

However, what was a cold experience for everyone who participated was also a heartwarming one. As organizers celebrated their donation goals to help Special Olympic athletes receive equipment and pay for travel expenses.

Ireland tells us that’s worth a few short seconds of freezing her feathers off.

“No snow in sight, blue skies, and happy people.”

“Everybody is encouraged to come on out, support us, cheer us on, and come have some fun and celebrate inclusion.”