It would take a lot to convince most people to jump into freezing cold water in December, but for the hundreds who did just that Sunday, the cause was worth the momentary discomfort. Our Candace Hopkins tells us more about the fundraising power behind the Oneida Shores Polar Plunge.
BREWERTON, N.Y. -- Each year the Special Olympics brings together thousands of athletes both here in New York state and nationwide. For those who participate and their families, the games are a special chance to make life long memories.
"I like everything, the sports, and the dancing", said Athlete Ryan Goldacker.
"It's a chance for Ryan to compete, where in the average world he can't really compete in power lifting or downhill skiing, he does very well with Special Olympics, it gives him a sense of pride", said Ryan's Mother, Lynn Goldacker.
Each year multiple fundraisers are needed to make the games possible, and here in Central New York one of the biggest, coldest ones, the Freezin' for a Reason Polar Plunge was held Sunday.
"We're anticipating reaching our hundred thousand dollar goal, and right now what it does is that money goes to help Special Olympic Athletes and their families get to the national games and also the state games," said Jack Keller of the New York State Police.
With a push of adrenaline hundreds took the plunge into Oneida Lake's frigid waters. But most could only linger for a few seconds, before running for the shore and the warm clothes awaiting them inside.
"We froze, and went under the water, you can't feel anything, my feet are frozen right now", said Syracuse Resident Elizabeth Manipole.
Oswego Resident Cynthia Farella was one of the brave plungers. This is the fourth year she and her friends have been taking part, in memory of her late sister who had down syndrome.
"I know she's shining down on us from above and laughing at us, and it's a great thing for everybody to do and I wish more people would come out, and every year more and more people come out and I just hope every year it continues to evolve into more and we raise more money", said Farella.
And while the cold eventually subsides, the effects of this vital fundraiser will last all year long.