First-ever Polar Plunge in Victoria raises $20,000 for Special Olympics B.C.


WATCH: Nearly 100 people got ‘bold and cold’ in support of Special Olympics B.C. Ceilidh Millar reports. 

Dozens of people charged into the waters at Willows Beach in Victoria for the inaugural Vancouver Island Polar Plunge, in support of Special Olympics B.C.

“We’re all going to be headed into the water and getting ‘freezin’ for a reason,'” said organizer Cst. Sherri Lucas of the Oak Bay Police Department.

Fundraisers took the dive to help raise money for the more than 4,600 Special Olympics athletes in the province.

“The money raised is able to help the athletes train, travel and go to the different games,” Lucas explained. “Without this, they just wouldn’t get the funding.”

The support from the community is priceless for athletes, like softball player Kevin Danchella.

“I’ve been playing [softball] for the last six years,” said Danchella, who will be travelling to Nova Scotia in July to compete. “If it wasn’t for the police, fire and ambulance and people from the army, this probably would never, ever happen because it takes a lot of love and support.”

The organization is largely supported by first responders, including the Victoria Police Department whose plunge team raised more than $6,600.

“We recognize that we have individuals with intellectual disabilities and how empowering it is when they’re able to compete in sports,” said Victoria Police Chief Del Manak. “We really see great personal achievement.”

Many first responders plunged into the frigid waters in full uniform, while other participants wore costumes and colourful outfits.

“It was very cold but refreshing,” said one person who took the plunge. “I would absolutely do it again!”

Organizers say they’ve surpassed their fundraising goal of $20,000.

Donations will be accepted until next week at 

Ceilidh MillarCeilidh Millar

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