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Polar Plunges 12/7/2012

Jumping into water outdoors when the temperatures are below freezing: crazy, or a noble way to donate to a cause? On December 15th, Anchorage, Alaska will host the 2012 Alaska Special Olympics Polar Plunge, where hundreds of people will jump into Goose Lake to raise money for Special Olympics.

My daughter did it last year with her friend Mrs. Alaska United States Brandy Wendler, as part of her reign as Miss Alaska 2011. And she is planning to plunge again as part of the Tough Tiaras team, all past or current contestants in the Miss Alaska Scholarship Foundation. As Katy put it on her profile page, “Last year, a friend recruited me to join her team for the plunge at the last second.  I really didn’t know what to expect, but ended up having the time of my life!  This year, I’m proud to lead an awesome group of ladies who are more than your average beauty queens in supporting this great organization.” (Shameless promotion: You can check out the details at http://www.firstgiving.com/SO-AK/2012-special-olympics-alaska-polar-plunge/teams)

And there are more Alaskans who do this kind of event for other charities. For example, the Mat-Su Polar Plunge raised money for local nonprofits last February. Coming up, there’s the 28th Annual Polar Bear Jump Off for the American Cancer Society, Jan. 19th in Seward’s small boat harbor.  Or for something slightly warmer but more demanding physically, how about the Pennock Island Challenge in August? It is a 8.2 mile open water race around Pennock Island near Ketchikan, a fundraiser for the American Diabetes Association. And I’m sure there are more events I am not familiar with.

Would I jump in freezing water voluntarily? No, but I applaud those who will. Thanks to all the crazy Alaskans who do these great deeds for charity.

Do you have any comparable fundraisers where you live? Ever try it, or do you donate to those who do?

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I love to share my passion for Alaska and its history in my writing for young adults and their grown ups.

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