Eric Cushing says, “It’s freezing for a reason. It’ll take the breath out of you. Once you kind of calm yourself, you can kind of enjoy it for a half a second, but then something inside of you says get out, get out, get out and you just can’t get out fast enough.”
The thoughts of more than 600 polar plungers as they take to the waters edge raising money for the Special Olympics Pennsylvania.
Cushing says, “It allows us to serve 20,000 athletes across the state with 21 Olympic-type sports. Incredible opportunities, community engagement. We have 260 events a year. Some people think we’re just one event – summer games or winter games. We are 260 events in ever community in this state.”
Those who braved the cold Lake Erie water say they do it all for the great cause.
Beth Hallock says, “The Special Olymnpics is great because people who wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to play sports and promote a healthy lifestyle, it gives them a chance to do it just like everybody else.”
Sandra Kocher says, “They have touched my heart and life so much. I have family that has autism and down syndrome and it’s just a very important cause to my heart.”
Stephanie Chido says, “The cause is great because it gives them a chance to be able to do things like other people get to do. So they get the chance to be apart of something. So it’s really cool.”
Cushing says polar plunges raise $1.5 million across the state for the Special Olympics.
Erie raising more than $80 thousand this year.