Polar Plunge helps raise funds for Special Olympics

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Nearly steaming at 39 degrees Fahrenheit, the Columbia River was “much warmer than in previous years” for fourth-time Polar Plunge plunger Joanna Lanning of Walla Walla.

Dunking in icy water raises money for Special Olympics in Washington state.

Joanna and friends dunked at Columbia Park in Kennewick. “This year I raised approximately $1,100,” she said, noting that she’s still collecting pledges. From 2011-2014, her Plunge donations add up to $5,000 from “generous people in our local communities.”

“Special Olympics is such a wonderful cause. The money raised on Saturday will help sponsor programs such as skiing, track and bowling in our area,” she said.

“I have assisted with the Special Olympics track program in Walla Walla and it is a pure pleasure to watch the athletes run races and see the joy on their faces when they receive a medal for their efforts.” Law enforcement agencies across the state raise money to benefit some 10,000 athletes who compete in Special Olympics statewide.

“On Saturday they announced (on the website) that over $68,000 had been raised by the 600-plus plungers.

“The event is extremely well organized and gets better every year. Nothing can describe the awesome feeling of ‘Freezin’ For a Reason!’”

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