GRAND REPIDS, Michigan. On a winter morning in Western Michigan, when the temperature is unambiguous, there is only one thing that makes sense – dive into the ice pool, of course! That’s what our morning band FOX 17 did on Saturdayalong with several other people to help set local and nationwide fundraising records for the Michigan Special Olympics.
“These are unambiguous numbers, which actually means the water will be warmer than the air, and it’s a little refreshing if you do it that way,” joked Ian Graham, a public safety officer with the Rockford Police Department and one of Saturday’s knights. .
Aside from the fact that these people are crazy, they are also insanely generous, putting their bodies at stake to raise money and awareness for the Special Olympics.
Graham has previously shared some tips with FOX 17.
“It’s all about mental training,” he said. – If you think it will be cold, it will be cold. The secret is that it will be cold anyway, but at least mentally, if you feel like jumping into a beautiful warm pool, maybe you can relieve yourself of the shock. ”
Obviously, this is easier said than done.
What doesn’t shock you is the generosity of the community. FOX 17 said 160 people plunged into Grand Rapids on Saturday, and 120 participated virtually.
The polar dive at Grand Rapids at LMCU Ballpark was one of 30 that took place Saturday in Michigan.
The fundraising goal in the state was $ 1 million. The event coordinator told FOX 17 that they surpassed that figure, raising $ 1,095,820 nationwide.
The Grand Rapids target was $ 100,000. The same coordinator said they won and that, reaching more than $ 120,000.
Both are records for the organization.
“This is true for our athletes today,” said Jennifer Van Skiver, board member and vice president of the Michigan Special Olympics. . We are very grateful to the 4,000 volunteers across the state and thank you guys for being here today to show us what we are talking about. ”
Graham learned a few years ago what it is. Now he can’t get enough.
“Initially, I was pressured by peers from several members of the Law Enforcement Torch Run and local media,” Graham said. – But as soon as I met my first athlete, I was fascinated. Once you meet them and see their fire to compete with each other and get the opportunities they might not have, that’s all I need to be motivated. ”
One of the athletes is Van Skiver’s daughter. She is unaware of the importance of the Special Olympics in Michigan.
“We light the pilot light in people,” said Van Skiver. “We create a sense of drive and a desire to belong and keep going. It’s really about never giving up. Sport is the catalyst that unites us. but it is leadership, and it is the self-confidence that is instilled in our athletes that helps them continue to find a meaningful place in their community, no matter what it looks like. ”
If you haven’t had the opportunity to participate, there’s still time to donate. Just visit the Special Olympics in Michigan website and find your area.