Brighton Polar Plungers Take a Dip to Support Special Olympics (with Video)
The Polar Plunge to benefit the Special Olympics of Michigan was held at Brighton High School on Saturday.
About 80 people braved 32-degree weather and frigid waters during the Brighton Polar Plunge which was held Saturday behind Brighton High School.
The weather was cold enough that plungers jumped into a hole cut into the ice rather than run down the hill into the water like last year's event.
The event is among 27 Polar Plunges conducted throughout Michigan this year to raise funds on behalf of about 19,000 Special Olympic Athletes.
The money raised at the event will go to aid Livingston County athletes by purchasing uniforms and the use gyms and soccer fields.
The Polar Plunge is also something that Special Olympic Athletes can participate in themselves. According to the Director of Livingston County Area Special Olympics Mary Jane Welton, at least 20 local athletes took the plunge on Saturday.
In fact, Danny Heinonen and Matt Janego, two local athletes, were some of the top fundraisers, each raising more than $1,000.
The youngest team to participate consisted of three 10-year-old Hornung Elementary students who were all first-time plungers. The girls, Katie Zukowski, Claire Mykols and Lauren Trombley, are also Brighton Youth Cheerleaders who together raised more than $1,000.
The Brighton Roller Dollz derby team was the top team fundraiser, raising more than $2,200. While PJ Sapienza, Assistant Area Director of the Livingston County Area Special Olympics, was the top individual fundraiser, raising more than $3,000.
Welton said the turnout was great, even though it was slightly less than last year.
"It was the same day Ann Arbor held their Polar Plunge," she said. "We hope to have over 100 (people) next year - but we'll be sure not to hold ours on the same day."