Hundreds take an icy plunge for a good cause - News, Weather and Sports for Lincoln, NE;

Hundreds take an icy plunge for a good cause

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By: Kayla Bremer

A big crowd turned out to watch hundreds of people submerge themselves in the freezing water to raise money for the Special Olympics.

"Freezin' for a Reason" is the motto for the Polar Plunge. It's the 8th year of the event and with snow on the ground and temperatures in the low 20s, dozens of groups of people plunged into the icy waters of Holmes Lake.

"Very cold," Polar Plunger Ashley Weyers said.  "Very cold, you don't breathe.  Your heart stops."

Volunteers ranging from little kids to a 92–year–old man turned out in style and jumped in the lake.

One group, made up of teachers has made the plunge the last five years and this time around, raised more than 500 dollars for the cause.

They say the plunge is something they plan on doing every year.

"We just think it's a great cause," Jen Birdsall said.  "Especially the Special Olympics and so we thought, why not jump in a lake and let people pay us."

The event is held in five different Nebraska cities to raise awareness and money.

President and CEO, Carolyn Chamberlin, says this is an event that continues to grow and this year's goal is to raise 200–thousand dollars from all five plunges.

"It's a little crazy," Chamberlin said.  "But second of all, I think it's a very exciting opportunity to do something that you might not normally do."

Costumes, like Scooby-Doo and the Blue Man Group, were a big thing among the volunteers braving the cold water.

Groups of students, co–workers, family members and teammates dressed to impress for the icy swim.

"It's breath–taking," Kerry Zingg said.  "I mean it just kind of takes your breath away.  Each year, you wonder why you do it again."

The final numbers are in from the Lincoln plunge...39 teams adding up to 220 people made the jump into the lake raising a total of 35–thousand dollars.

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