Last week, we gave you a list of five American Paralympic athletes to watch, but what about the Olympics closer to home?
This past weekend, “The Tonight Show” host Jimmy Fallon jumped into the icy Lake Michigan waters with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel as part of the city’s Polar Plunge event. Emanuel participated after making a bet with the Chicago’s children that if they read more than 2 million books, he would jump in. More recently, Fallon invited the mayor onto his show, who then replied that he would come on if Fallon participated in the Plunge too.
Here in Evanston, 43 people recently braved the cold weather for the annual Law Enforcement Torch Run “Super” Plunge at Northwestern University’s North Beach to raise money for the Illinois Special Olympics. While Fallon and Mayor Emanuel’s jump attracted national news, this event was more extreme, with mainly law enforcement officials participating in an icy dip into Lake Michigan once every hour for 24 hours starting at 2 p.m. on Friday. The participants raised over $545,000 for the organization in the process.
The event kicked off a series of smaller Polar Plunge events across the state, which combined, created the largest fundraiser for Special Olympics Illinois.
Special Olympics Illinois is dedicated to providing year-round opportunities for athletic competition for people with intellectual disabilities, with over 20,000 athletes participating state-wide. While playing these Olympic-type sports, the athletes build their physical fitness, while sharing valuable skills with their teammates and experiencing joy.
Find more information and how to support the Illinois Special Olympics by visiting their website.
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About The Author
This post was written by one of our volunteers, Emily, who is a senior at Northwestern University studying social policy.