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Iowa City Polar Plunge supports Special Olympics Iowa



Iowa City, Iowa – Dozens braved the freezing waters in Iowa City on Saturday to raise money for Special Olympics Iowa.

“We have about 100 people that are going to be here taking the plunge today and cheering everyone on,” Maddie Cory, director of Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics Iowa, said.

“We actually have about over 9,000 athletes across the entire state. And that [money] goes to our 24 Olympic-type sports that we host every single year, throughout the year,” Cory added.

Every participant at the event shared a personal account of how participating in the Special Olympics had impacted their life. For Claire Wilke, it was watching floor hockey between her two cousins who had epilepsy.

“I’m so grateful that my family got to experience cheering on my cousins in a sporting event. That’s something that—it’s not just the kids that benefit from it. It’s the whole family,” Wilke said.

People at the Polar Plunge claim that Special Olympics benefits even more than entire families. Whole communities are involved.

“I started volunteering a lot to meet people. And it was volunteering with Special Olympics actually at the Polar Plunge two years ago where I met my now-best friend Claire,” Robin Nilsson said.

By the end of the day, the organizers estimated that they would have raised about $20,000 in total, including sponsorships and internet contributions.

“I saw a TikTok that said your life is measured in experiences, not years—or adventure, not years. So I’ve been trying to get out more and have adventures,” Nilsson said.

The participants in Saturday’s small adventure never forgot that it was done for a good cause: to enable people with varying abilities to take part in the Special Olympics and go on their own adventures.

“You gain lots of skills in sports. You learned about pride, hard work, teamwork, how to deal with failure and success,” Wilke said. “That’s something everybody should get.”