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Purdue University Polar Plunge raises thousands of dollars for Special Olympics

This year's plunge brought in more than $80,000 to help fund Special Olympic needs.

Posted: Feb 15, 2020 6:59 PM
Updated: Feb 16, 2020 9:07 AM

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — Hundreds of people took a plunge in ice-cold water for a cause on Saturday.

Nearly 350 people participated in this year’s Polar Plunge at Purdue University. Event leaders say this is the biggest turn-out yet.

This fundraiser annually brings in thousands of dollars for Special Olympics Indiana. This year's plunge brought in more than $80,000 so far. The fundraiser ends in March.

Seven college campuses across Indiana host a polar plunge every year but Purdue ranks number one as the largest campus plunge in the state.

The money raised goes toward various Special Olympic needs like equipment, athletic trainers, uniforms and other supplies.

Special athletes and other participants say it’s worth braving the cold to support the sports.

Eighteen West Lafayette Police officers also took the plunge Saturday morning. The department raised more than $7,000 for Special Olympics this month. 

“We think that it's very important in building those partnerships in our community so Special Olympics is one of those,” said West Lafayette Police Chief Troy Harris. “It has been a great group effort, great for our guys and girls to give back to our community.”

One major way WLPD officers raised money was by growing their facial hair. The department has a rule that requires officers to make a donation if they want to wear their facial hair while in uniform.

“Philanthropy is something that's important to a community and that's how you build partnerships in the community,” said Harris. “Our guys and girls have a servant's heart and whether they're uniform or they're out of uniform, we want our community to know that we're really engaged.”

Polar Plunge is one of three major fundraisers they're participating in this year. They’re also teaming up with Trisha’s Hope, which provides financial support for cancer patients in treatment and the Subaru's CASA Cycling Challenge, which helps Tippecanoe County kids in need. They set a fundraiser goal of $10,000 for the year.

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