Buffalo Freezing for a Reason

Posted by on Dec 10, 2018 in ComLead, Managing Not-For-Profit Organizations

Last weekend, Buffalo hosted the 12th annual Polar Plunge to benefit the Special Olympics, an organization which promotes inclusion and acceptance between people with and without intellectual disabilities to participate in Olympic-Style sporting events. Participating athletes are able to physically train together and to test themselves in various sports, working with and against others like themselves.

The Polar Plunge of WNY raises money for the Special Olympics New York athletes by having participants collect donations for “plunging” into Lake Erie at Woodlawn Beach. There is never a guarantee of weather or water temperature, but “plungers” parade towards a designated area in the water surrounded by rescue personnel  ready to respond if needed.

This year about 1,000 participants raised $187,272 for the Special Olympics’ New York athletes. While it sounds like a ridiculous idea, this event is the organization’s largest fundraiser and the event was filled with smiles and excitement all around. Food trucks kept swimmers and their families full, and Dunkin Donuts had complimentary coffee the entire afternoon while families checked out costumes and prepared for the trip to the beach. The water may be freezing, but the impact is extraordinary.

It costs around $500 to sponsor a participant for the Special Olympics, and athletes and their families or caregivers are never charged for their sport. Therefore an event like this where the community gets together for a fun time and a special cause, is an excellent way to help support the organization. The money raised goes right into the Special Olympics, and you will find athletes around the tent either taking in the excitement or getting prepped to run into the lake themselves.

If interested or inspired, you can donate to the Special Olympics New York here!


Buffalo News: Hundreds Brave the Frigid Lake Erie to Take the Polar Plunge
2018 Buffalo Polar Plunge
Special Olympics NY

Devon Bradley, M.S. Communication & Leadership ’19 

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