Some People Are Worth Freezing For- Omaha Polar Plunge

March 23, 2019

On Saturday February 9th, dozens of fearless dogooders and adrenaline junkies participated in Omaha’s 13th Annual Polar Plunge.  In past years this event took place at Lake Cunnigham, however an unfortunate infestation of Zebra Mussels, they were forced to relocate to lake Zorinsky.   

The Polar Plunge is an outrageously fun (and chilly) activity that serves as a fundraiser for the Special Olympics. Plungers are required to raise at least fifty dollars each in order to participate, although more is certainly encouraged and appreciated. Since its initial creation in 2006, the Polar plunge has striven (and succeeded) to send Nebraska athletes with special needs to the Special Olympics to show off their skills for a reduced cost, or even for no cost at all.  

Omaha Central Highschool joined the party last year when (now) Junior student Cassandra Willey took the initiative to further exhibit the C in Central’s ABC’s.  Willey, having participated previously with Buffet Middle school understood how important the event is to those it benefits and started her own team with the help of Ms. Carrie Joseph.  

This year Central’s team was comprised of eight outstanding Central students willing to step outside of their comfort zone to make a difference in their community.  The team had a couple of afterschool meetings leading up to the event, including an informational meeting to recruit new students interested in participating.  

The plunge usually takes place between 10 am and 12 pm on the second Saturday of February. Participants await their turn with their team mates in the cold for up to a few hours at most. When their turn to plunge has arrived, they are led into the section of the frozen lake that has been cut out and are guided in a circle to the other side of the water, then they quickly change out of their wet clothes.  

Although every precaution is taken, and paramedics are present on the scene (just in case), “it is not for the faint of heart”, Willey explains the various health restrictions that could potentially prevent someone from being able to safely participate.  

While it is not always the most pleasant use of one’s Saturday morning, it is without a doubt quite rewarding.  Cassandra Willey confessed that, “Something brings me back to doing {Polar Plunge} every year and I wouldn’t change a thing. Personally, raising a total amount of three thousand dollars over my years participating, I can say I’ve helped and did my part in helping my community. Little by little.” 

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