Saturday, February 5, 2011

Plungers brave cold and snow for an icy dip

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KRCU) - Temperatures never ventured far above 30 degrees, but that didn't stop over two-hundred people from taking a cold dip Saturday afternoon at Lake Boutin at Trail of Tears State Park.

The 5th annual Polar Plunge is the most popular fundraising activity for Special Olympics in Cape Girardeau. This year’s 268 participants helped raise $45,000 for 1,100 athletes. The money will help fund their upcoming basketball tournament, a track meet, and various athletic events throughout the year.

Charles DiStefano was one of the plungers. Clad in a Hawaiian shirt and shorts, he says he lost feeling in most of his foot … and didn’t even notice he had lost a sandal to the lake’s muddy bottom.

"But it was definitely a new, rewarding experience," DiStefano said. "And I want to call it a religious experience. Standing out there, waiting for my heat to go, and then that nice crisp air comes by. I was really saying, 'God, just take me now.'"

This year marked a record number of Polar Plunge participants. Organizers set a goal of $60,000 and are still accepting contributions.

Jacob McCleland, KRCU


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