Thousands Take Chicago's Polar Plunge

This year’s Polar Plunge had thousands of supporters “freezin’ for a reason.”

The event, a fundraiser for Special Olympics Chicago, had thousands of plungers jumping and running into 32-degree temps in anything from exotic costumes to bikinis to thermal clothing.

Organizers hoped to raise $1,000,000through the event at North Avenue Beach. Each participant was asked to raise a minimum of $150 to support the programs provided by Special Olympics Chicago and in return jumpers received a T-shirt and warm towel.

Various prizes were to be awarded at the event for the top 3 fundraisers, the team that raised the most funds, best team costume, largest team, and top 3 individual costumes.

Chrissy Milanese plunged with her sorority.

The Florida-native said the only thing she wanted to do after the plunge was warm-up.

“I can’t feel my face,” she said. “I’ve never swam in anything colder 75 degrees.”

Candace Watkins of the Chicago Park District said she raised $1,200 over the course of three weeks.

“I just figured I would do something for a good cause,” she said.

Special education administrator Tia Speat said the plunge related to her personally and to her field.

“This is my passion,” she said. “You only live once.”

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