Polar Bear Plunges Raise $2.2 Million for Special Olympics Minnesota

Mar 14, 2011, 15:45 ET from Special Olympics Minnesota

Record year of events presented by law enforcement as part of the Law Enforcement Torch Run

MINNEAPOLIS, March 14, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Nearly 11,000 brave Minnesotans raised a record $2.2 million this winter for Special Olympics Minnesota by jumping into frozen water in one of 14 Polar Bear Plunge events around the state. Coordinated by law enforcement, the events offered fun-loving adrenaline junkies an opportunity to be "freezin' for a reason" — and to have a blast in the process.

"We are so grateful for the thousands of Minnesotans who showed their generous and adventurous spirits by jumping into icy water to support Special Olympics Minnesota athletes, and for the law enforcement personnel who made the events possible," said David Dorn, President & CEO of Special Olympics Minnesota. "The record-breaking 2011 Polar Bear Plunge season will allow us to grow Special Olympics programs in Minnesota, helping us reach more athletes and provide more opportunities."

Polar Bear Plunge fundraisers help Special Olympics Minnesota offer year-round sports training and competition to more than 7,100 children and adults with intellectual disabilities. In 2010, more than 7,000 valiant individuals took the Plunge to support Special Olympics Minnesota, together raising more than $1.4 million. Participants Plunged in teams of coworkers, friends or club members and raised money by asking for pledges. Each participant raised at least $75.

Polar Bear Plunge events in 2011 were held in the following Minnesota communities: White Bear Lake, Willmar/Spicer, Maple Grove, Rochester, St. Peter, Prior Lake, Duluth, St. Cloud, Alexandria, South Metro (Burnsville), Brainerd, Minneapolis, Eden Prairie and Grand Rapids. The 2012 Polar Bear Plunge season will kick off in January and online registration is expected to be open in October at plungemn.org.

Polar Bear Plunge events are organized by Minnesota law enforcement as part of the Law Enforcement Torch Run®, the largest grassroots fundraiser and public awareness vehicle for Special Olympics in the world. With a mission to raise funds for and awareness of the Special Olympics movement worldwide, law enforcement officers and personnel from all 50 United States, 10 Canadian provinces and territories and more than 35 nations carry the "Flame of Hope" in honor of Special Olympics athletes in their areas and around the world. More than 1,200 law enforcement officers and personnel representing more than 75 agencies throughout Minnesota participated with the Torch Run initiative in 2010. The Torch Run is an actual running event in which officers and athletes run the "Flame of Hope" to the Celebration Ceremonies of Special Olympics competitions. The Torch Run is also a diverse initiative encompassing a variety of fundraisers, including the Polar Bear Plunge.

Special Olympics Minnesota offers children and adults with intellectual disabilities year-round sports training and competition. Through Special Olympics' athletic, health and leadership programs, people with intellectual disabilities transform themselves, their communities and the world.

Created by the Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation for the Benefit of Persons with Intellectual Disabilities

E-mail somn@somn.org

www.specialolympicsminnesota.org

SOURCE Special Olympics Minnesota



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