Toronto Police raise money for Special Olympics with videos of ice being poured on officers
In a typical year, the Toronto Police Service holds its annual Polar Plunge at Sunnyside Beach to raise money for Special Olympics Ontario, and officers from all over the city run into the ice cold water all at once.
But this year, thanks to COVID-19, the campaign is going virtual, and law enforcement officers and members of the public are being encouraged to share videos of themselves plunging from home in a variety of ways — including but not limited to jumping into an ice bath, having a bucket of ice water dumped on their head, or submerging themselves in a pile of snow.
TPS raised nearly $40,000 from the fundraiser last year, and the goal is to collect even more money this year for the very important cause.
"I have always supported Special Olympics by participating in the annual Law Enforcement Torch Run, but it wasn't until I became the Service representative that I truly understood the difference our fundraising efforts make," said Dave Rydzik, who is leading the Toronto Police Polar Plunge fundraiser, in a TPS news release.
"I have met so many athletes and had the pleasure to watch them compete and hear their stories. It is truly inspiring. The pure joy and excitement that you can see in their eyes while they are competing is something that you will never forget and from that moment on, you are hooked," he continued.
"When you realize that without our fundraising efforts thousands of Special Olympic athletes would not have these opportunities, well, you do just about anything you can to support the cause, even if that means 'Freezin for a Reason' by jumping into a frozen lake or ice filled pool in February."
TPS is encouraging anyone willing to participate in the challenge to record their plunge and post it online using the hashtag #plungeon sometime between Feb. 1 and 28, and residents can also register online to raise money for Special Olympics Ontario.
And if you don't feel like participating yourself, you can always check out the hashtag on social media to watch some seriously statisfying videos of people willingly submerging themselves in ice water and snow for a good cause.
"COVID has affected us all, but especially our athletes. Not only have they not been able to participate in any of the sports and games that they love, but they have also been isolated from their friends and other supports due to being in a higher risk category of contracting the COVID virus," said Rydzik in the release.
"We also can't gather and host a traditional Polar Plunge as we have done in the past. Just remember, no matter if you raise $30 or $3,000, every dollar goes to support our athletes whose lives have been changed and enriched through sport, friendship, fun and mentorship."
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