Polar Bears Make the Plunge at Annual Winter Fundraiser - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Polar Bears Make the Plunge at Annual Winter Fundraiser

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(Photo: Lewes Polar Plunge) (Photo: Lewes Polar Plunge)

REHOBOTH, Del. -- The 24th annual Polar Bear Plunge fundraiser for the Special Olympics in Delaware kicked off to an icy start as usual on Feb. 1.

This year more than 3,300 polar bear participants descended onto Rehoboth Beach in droves to take a quick dip in the 37-degree Atlantic ocean Sunday afternoon.

The Polar Bear Plunge helps raise money for the Special Olympics, one of the First State's biggest sporting events.

Some participants were first timers while others were returning polar bear plungers, including Melissa Graver from Lewes who participated with her co-worker and his daughter.

"You have to have a lack of smarts to sign up for this event because it's very cold," said Graver jokingly. "And then you have to have some courage to do it."

"Even though it's crazy I keep coming back," said Lauren David who has traveled down from Milford to take the plunge for the past 12 years.

Families, students, even pets make the Polar Plunge an annual winter tradition. For one family, the event has more significance than ever before.

"We had had a tragedy back in November. Our daughter passed away in an accident of carbon monoxide," said Donna Imbierowicz who came to the plunge in honor of her late daughter Carly. "And the Special Olympics was an organization that is very near and dear to her heart."

Event organizers say the event raised a record $780,000 for the 3,700 children and adults who compete in the Delaware's Special Olympics.

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