In 17 degree weather, a crowd of hundreds submerged themselves into water warmer than the air itself. Were they a crowd of lunatics? Is there some sort of treasure submerged in the icy lake? No, and not only is it by choice, but it’s for a great cause.
Cabrini students and members of the community joined together for this icy swim to benefit the Special Olympics 2010 Polar Bear Plunge series.
The event, which was held on Saturday, Jan. 30 at Neshaminy State Park, raised money through donations and pledges from volunteers who go for the infamous dip.
Polar Bear Plunge events happen across the country to raise money for local Special Olympic branches.
Here at Cabrini, students have been working with the Special Olympics, and more specifically the Polar Plunge, for years.
Dr. Dunbar of the biology department is known for his participation in the events.
Since it was held on one of the coldest days the Delaware Valley had seen in a while, not every person took the plunge.
“I myself did not have enough courage to actually participate in the plunge,” Megan Creed, sophomore exercise science major, said. “I just volunteered at the registration tent but it was great to see how many people showed up and donated.”
One person that did participate without hesitation, was Traci Beltz, senior exercise science major, who organized Cabrini’s participation in this years event.
“Cabrini has a strong focus in helping others as part of our curriculum,” Beltz said. “You have to find a population that you can really care about and find a passion for.”
For Beltz, it’s the athletes that participate in the Special Olympics Pennsylvania that keep her coming back for more.
“We have spent time skiing and bowling with them and wanted to help fund these programs and I think that we successfully did that this year,” Beltz said.
Events like this are crucial now more than ever. Money raised at this event and others like it keeps SOPA afloat. “Cabrini Honors students used to volunteer at the Winter Ski Competition for Special Olympics but it hasn’t had enough funding to run for the last two years,” Beltz said, “I was able to experience the enjoyment and happiness that the event brought to the athletes and I wanted to help raise money this year so that no more programs would be cancelled.”
Cabrini students alone raised $1000. Demika Poole, the SOPA coordinator, said that their goal of $60,000 was easily made since the number of “plungers” jumped from 70 last year to almost 400 this year.