Polar Plunge participants set fundraising records

From The Register-Mail:
Nick Vasquez said it was like hitting an iceberg in the face.

Others used simple terms: cold, frigid and shocking. But regardless of how it was described, the ninth annual Polar Plunge lived up to it’s name with temperatures in the 30s and snow and ice still covering Lake Storey Beach on Sunday.

Wintry conditions didn’t keep the participants away, however, as the plunge continued to raise a record amount of money to benefit Special Olympics Illinois.

In all, 270 plungers from roughly 25 teams raised $41,621.47, a figure that exceeds this year’s goal of $36,000…

…Some of the most active members of the community on Sunday were Knox College students. The college was represented in droves as fraternities and sororities raised funds and took the plunge.

A regular for the past five years, fraternity Beta Theta Pi had one of the strongest showings on Sunday with roughly 30 students taking the dive almost all at once. Nothing, they said, could prepare them for the icy waters.

“You can say, ‘it’s so bad,’ but you’re not ready for that initial shock,” said student Dan Page.
To help raise money, the group bagged groceries, set up tables at school and collected money online. A total of $2,719.30 was raised for charity.

While they were happy to raise money for a good cause, the group also was relieved when it was over.
“That was the best shower I’ve ever had,” said student Mike Youkhana.

Out-raising the fraternity by a few hundred dollars was sorority Alpha Sigma Alpha, who brought in $2,911.46. Several donors, they said, contributed in anticipation of seeing photos of them freezing in the frigid lake.