Saturday, February 25, 2012
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Polar Plungers will be freezin' for a reason

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[February 25, 2012]  NORMAL -- It's not every day that people are willing to "go jump in a lake" -- particularly in the winter -- let alone do so with thousands of other people, including members of the law enforcement community. But that's exactly what will happen on various weekends in February and March as part of the annual Law Enforcement Torch Run Polar Plunge presented by GEICO to benefit Special Olympics Illinois.

The event has grown from one location in 1999 to 20 locations across the state (see list) this year. The Polar Plunge series will kick off with a Super Plunge -- where participants raise a minimum of $2,500 and plunge into Lake Michigan once an hour every hour for 24 hours -- on Feb. 24-25 at Northwestern University's North Beach in Evanston.

The official date for the Lincoln Polar Plunge is March 17.

Any adventurous soul is invited to join law enforcement officers, as well as media and business and civic leaders from their community, by donning bathing suits, costumes or any clothing of choice (just no wet suits!) to jump in a lake. Each plunger must collect a minimum of $75 in donations that will be used to support Special Olympics programs in Illinois.

Individuals and teams can register on the Special Olympics Illinois website at or by contacting the Special Olympics Illinois staff listed below.

Plungers are encouraged to form teams to spread the fun. Each team member must raise the minimum of $75 in donations, and all team members' individual fundraising totals will be merged to form a combined team total. Teams are placed into divisions based on size and are awarded prizes for the most money raised.

The Lincoln Polar Plunge will take place at Lincoln Lakes at noon on March 17. Participants are to meet at the Knights of Columbus Hall to be bused to the private beach. After the plunge there will be a party at the Knights of Columbus, including free food for the plungers and an award and recognition ceremony for the participants.

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To learn more about the Lincoln event, contact Joanie Keyes at 217-428-9255, click here, or visit the front page of Lincoln Daily News and click on the Polar Bear button to reach the Polar Plunge website.

The Illinois Law Enforcement Torch Run is the single largest year-round fundraising vehicle benefiting Special Olympics Illinois. The annual intrastate relay and its various fundraising projects have two goals: to raise money and increase public awareness for the athletes of Special Olympics Illinois. Each year, more than 3,000 officers in Illinois run more than 1,500 miles carrying the "Flame of Hope" through the streets of their hometowns and deliver it to the state Summer Games in Normal in June.

[Text from file received from Joanie Keyes, area director for Special Olympics; LDN]

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