YORK COUNTY, Pa. — Those who were brave enough got a chance to take a cold dip into the icy waters of Pinchot State Park in York County, all to benefit Special Olympics Pennsylvania (SOPA).
The Capital Area/York County Polar Plunge began at noon with 28-degree water, hours after volunteers used chainsaws to cut through 3 inches of ice to make space for the event.
"Like it sends your heart racing, it's definitely a unique feeling … that cold," said participant Sarah Gipson
500 people signed up to jump into the lake at Gifford Pinchot State Park on Saturday and raise money for Special Olympics.
Additionally, people could register for the event as "Too Chicken to Plunge" participants if they didn't want to take a dip in the freezing water.
"It's for a really good cause and we just wanted to raise as much money as we could so we decided to try it for the first time and it was a bucket list thing I guess," said Aleta Gipson
"It's awesome our athletes haven't been able to train in person for almost two years and we're finally getting back at it and getting some normalcy," said Regional Executive Director of Capital Area Region SOPA Kerry Wevodau. "So it's great that we're out here today just to see them with the smiles on their faces and seeing their friends and seeing each other again and getting a little bit back into that normal routine."
The Polar Plunge also surpassed its goal of $90,000, raising $120,000 so far.
Special Olympics Pennsylvania provides year-round training and competition in 21 Olympic-type sports to more than 16,000 children and adults with intellectual disabilities or closely related developmental disabilities.