LEWISBERRY, Pa. (WHTM) — Over 750 Midstate residents took part in the Special Olympics of Pennsylvania (SOPA) annual Capital Area Polar Plunge on Saturday at Gifford Pinchot State Park.
“Well, you have to mentally prepare yourself. I kind of pep myself up mentally, and just go in. (I) go fully under and then get the heck out of there,” Matthew Hollinger of Pleasureville said.
There were roughly 550 participants bold enough to get cold by taking a dip in the icy waters at the state park in support of SOPA teams. Some of the teams and individual participants raised additional money above their registration fees to donate to the cause.
“These funds support our 3,400 athletes in the Capital Area Region. We offer training and competition in over 24 sports year-round. That money goes towards those programs because our athletes don’t pay a dime to do anything. It’s transportation to competitions, meals, accommodations, uniforms, and equipment,” Regional Director for SOPA Kahley Stweart said.
People who did not feel like taking the plunge could watch free of charge and were able to enjoy activities as a plunge spectator. Activities were also available at Plunge Town during the time of the plunge, which included food trucks, music, and a costume contest.
The goal this year is to raise over $150,000 and as of Saturday afternoon, they have surpassed $107,000.
If you missed the plunge, there are still ways for you to donate. You can register as a virtual plunger and take the Polar Pop from the comfort of your own home. You can find more information by clicking here.
Some of the sponsors for the event included the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics PA, Aerotek, Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, and Renewal by Anderson.