2016 Polar Plunge Shatters Records, Raises $1.5M

This year's Polar Plunge broke all records for the event benefiting the Special Olympics Chicago, officials said Wednesday.

Participation, funds and awareness raised all reached new heights as the 2016 event brought in $1.5 million to support athletic opportunities for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. 

Hundreds of people jumped into Lake Michigan at North Avenue Beach earlier this month, including several celebrities who braved the chilly waters.

Actors from the hit NBC shows “Chicago Fire,” “Chicago PD,” and “Chicago Med” were among the 5,800 to take the plunge. The TODAY Show's Al Roker, Tamron Hall and Dylan Dreyer also flew to Chicago to take part in the event.

“Chicago Fire” star Taylor Kinney and his fiancée Lady Gaga joined in on the fun for the second year in a row, even repeating a piggyback exit from the water. 

Last year, Kinney and Gaga were joined by actor Vince Vaughn and more than 4,500 Chicagoans in the icy dip into Lake Michigan. While Vaughn was the guest of honor at the event, Lady Gaga's appearance was a surprise.

Plungers raised more than $1 million dollars in 2015, which supports athletes involved in Special Olympics Chicago. NBC is a proud sponsor of this year's Polar Plunge. 

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