Dozens brave cold for third annual Polar Plunge for Special Olympics

Paul Hanson, right, celebrated his birthday by participating in the Polar Plunge for Special Olympics BC at Willows Beach Sunday. Organizers have raised $40,000 in online donations alone. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
Oak Bay Police Const. Sheri Lucas poses with her Batman costume before heading into the waters of Willows Beach Sunday. She’s one of more than 150 participants in the Polar Plunge for Special Olympics BC. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
Oak Bay resident Mat Hylan and his dog, Hamish, took part in the Polar Plunge for Special Olympics BC at Willows Beach Sunday. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
More than 150 participants took part in the Polar Plunge for Special Olympics BC at Willows Beach Sunday. Organizers have raised $40,000 in online donations alone. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
The Oddballs, a cold-water swim team, took part in the Polar Plunge for Special Olympics BC at Willows Beach Sunday. Organizers have raised $40,000 in online donations alone. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
More than 150 participants took part in the Polar Plunge for Special Olympics BC at Willows Beach Sunday. Organizers have raised $40,000 in online donations alone. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
More than 150 participants took part in the Polar Plunge for Special Olympics BC at Willows Beach Sunday. Organizers have raised $40,000 in online donations alone. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
More than 150 participants took part in the Polar Plunge for Special Olympics BC at Willows Beach Sunday. Organizers have raised $40,000 in online donations alone. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)

More than 150 participants plunged into six-degree celsius ocean water at Willows Beach, dressed in uniform and costume to raise funds for Special Olympics BC’s (SOBC) life-changing year-round sport, youth, and health programs for people with intellectual disabilities.

Law enforcement officers, Special Olympics athletes and members of Oak Bay community gathered on the shores of Willow Beach to participate in the third annual Vancouver Island Polar Plunge for the SOBC (SOBC) on Feb. 6.

As of Feb. 16, funds raised for the SOBC have reached $40,000, according to Constable Sheri Lucas, Media Coordinator for Vancouver Island Polar Plunge.

Of those who attended the Polar Plunge, members from B.C. Sheriff Services, Canada Border Services Agency, Central Saanich Police Service, Oak Bay Police Department, RCMP, Saanich Police Department, Victoria Police Department, and The 5th (British Columbia) Field Artillery Regiment were also present. The Polar Plunge is in partnership with the Law Enforcement torch run for SOBC.

Michael Langridge, an athlete with the Special Olympics BC, attended the event despite the fact that he has a cracked rib from skiing. Langridge is headed to compete in Nanaimo this May as a member of the Special Olympics Soccer team.

“I want to make a difference in the Special Olympics BC and all the stuff they do for us,” said Langridge.

Among the participants was the Oddballs Cold Water Swim Team, a group who has swam the Willow Beach every morning for the last 90 day. The swim team finds the early morning swims a great way to start their day. As participants quickly ran out of the water to warm towels, the swim team leisurely waded in the cold water like it was a hot summer day.

“It is just something we do everyday, but then we heard if this event and thought it was a great way to lend our support to a really good cause,” said Russ Campbell.

Paul Hanson attended the Polar Plunge for the first time convincing his friend, Curtis Menz, to join him in celebration of his birthday.

“My feet were the most cold part of my body,” said Hanson.

Locals and police look forward every year to raise funds for SOBC athletes, and hope to see the event continue to grow.

“Every year it grows and it just makes me smile,” said Lucas, “I don’t think people realize the impact it has on the athletes and the advantages we are giving them by allowing them to train and compete in sport, and to make them feel like they are one of the community members.”

Local NewsSpecial Olympics

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Fire ban implimented in Sooke, throughout province in response to COVID-19

More regulations can be expected as governments aim to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus

Advocates call safe drug supply a victory but worry about logistics in pandemic

Pandemic contributes to scarce supply, advocates worried about potential impact on the streets

Vikes Maffia, Mollenhauer among annual athletic award winners

UVic Vikes release annual athletic awards

Nanaimo, Royal Jubilee to be Vancouver Island’s COVID-19 frontline hospitals

Other Island hospitals will be admitting COVID-19 patients and will be used in a support role

Man charged after Langford shooting last year sentenced to 4.5 years

Justin Lemmen found guilty of firearms offenses

B.C. clears more acute hospital beds as COVID-19 case growth slows

Province holding about 40% of beds empty for peak still to come

75-year-old woman rescued from Cowichan Lake

Victim taken to hospital, but expected to recover

Not to become bored the game plan for COVID-19

Board game with an Island map developed by Island family just the remedy for filling time at home

As 500K+ apply for emergency benefit, Trudeau says aid coming for Canadians left behind

Canada Emergency Response Benefit provides $2,000 per month

UPDATE: UK PM Boris Johnson moved to intensive care after COVID-19 symptoms worse

He has been quarantined in his Downing St. residence since being diagnosed with COVID-19 on March 26

Travellers, travel agents ‘in agony’ over refund policies and customer service

Many Canadian carriers are offering customers flights rebookings or travel vouchers — but not refunds

Introverted and extroverted kids likely to react differently to COVID-19 restrictions

B.C. child psychologist says your parenting approach can’t be one-size fits all in social isolation

B.C. begins taking submissions for $2M COVID-19 research fund

Rural health, impact of shifting hospital resources among priorities

Most Read