Brrrr! People all over Genesee County are getting ready to take the plunge into the icy-cold waters of Lake Fenton during the fifth annual Fenton Polar Bear Plunge, set to take place at the Fenton Moose Lodge on February 8 at 1pm. Risking pneumonia is worth it, since proceeds will benefit Special Olympics of Michigan.
Flint City Roller Derby Girl Luann, better known as E-Rase Her, is excited about this year’s event, since the cause is especially near and dear to her heart. “I have a severely autistic nephew,” she explained. “He means everything to us and we do everything we can to make his life more enjoyable.” This year, about eight members of Flint’s beloved team will take the plunge to help the cause. “Last year, we raised over $1,000,” says Luann. “We participate in the event because all of the funds raised stay in Michigan, and we want to help people in our community and our state.” In all, there are 30 plunges scheduled across the state this year. Polar Plunges are put on by the Law Enforcement Torch Run, one of the largest global grassroots fundraisers for Special Olympics. LETR consists of officers from both law enforcement and corrections who raise funds and create awareness for Special Olympics year round. Luann says that the benefit to the Special Olympics has a direct effect on her nephew. “It’s heartwarming to see the joy in his eyes when he participates in Special Olympics,” she said. The ultimate goal of Special Olympics is to help persons with intellectual disabilities participate and receive respect as members of their communities.
Ralph Unterborn of the Fenton Moose Lodge says 110 people have already signed up to participate in this year’s Fenton Polar Plunge. “It’s a lot of fun,” he exclaimed. “People dress up in crazy costumes and jump in the lake, all for a good cause!” Directly following the plunge into the freezing water is an awards ceremony and the Post-Plunge Party. “The Polar Plunge is just one way we can all come together and support our local Special Olympians,” says Pat Peters, director of Special Olympics Area 13 and coordinator of the Fenton Polar Plunge. “Last year, we had over 175 plungers and we raised over $38,000.” Participants run the gamut, laughs Pat: “Young and old, families, businesses, and some who have put it on a bucket list of things to do in their life.” Pat says that many of the plungers form teams, come up with wacky names and dress in costumes. “If you don’t want to plunge, then you can make a pledge to someone who is plunging, or you can just come out and enjoy the fun!”
Put on your parka, break open the piggy bank, and take the plunge on February 8!
PHOTOS COURTESY OF DAVID L PHOTOGRAPHY