Polar Plunge at Aquatica Raises More Than $135,000

More than 200 people showed up to the 12th annual Polar Plunge at the Aquatica Waterpark on Saturday hosted by WESH 2's Jim Payne and Meredith McDonough.

People split into groups and took a run for a splash to give back. The event raised more than $135,000.

In true Florida fashion, some people were still not sure about taking a plunge despite a warm and sunny day in Orlando. "I've already tested the water it's a little bit cool," participant Liam Brown said.

Special Olympics transforms lives through the joy of sports by supporting people with intellectual disabilities in 200 countries.  "It's helped my confidence, it's helped my family with knowing that I could do things anybody else can do," Special Olympics athlete Ashley Harrell said.

The funds raised will help support 60,000 athletes in Florida. "And that's to provide year-round training, competition, leadership development, health services and inclusive programming," chief development and marketing officer Linsey Smith said.

The fundraiser was especially important this year because Central Florida will host the Special Olympics USA Games this summer where thousands of athletes will compete.  "This is also our 50th year anniversary so this is really a special plunge," Smith said.

Special Olympics Florida has raised a total of $2 million since it started 12 years ago.

View original article and video from WESH.