Icy Support for Special Olympics

By Martin Blake, Toronto Police Service Published: 11:57 a.m. February 2, 2021

A cold shower, a jump in the snow or other icy feats can help support programs for Special Olympics athletes.

A man being covered in snow
Constable Ricardo Araujo experiences the winter at its coldest in support of Special Olympics Ontario

Since 2017, Toronto Police has held the Polar Plunge at Sunnyside Beach to raise money for Special Olympics Ontario. Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, this year’s campaign will be virtual individual efforts.

“No matter how you choose to participate this year, the important thing is that you do it safely and you have fun,” said Const. Ricardo Araujo.

Between Feb 1 and 28, participants can record their plunge and post in online, tagging their post #plungeon.

You can register online at  polarplunge.ca to raise funds for the worthy cause.

Prizes are available for the top fundraisers.

Nearly $40,000 was raised last year.

Supt. Dave Rydzik leads the Toronto Police Polar Plunge fundraiser.

“I have always supported Special Olympics by participating in the annual Law Enforcement Torch Run, but it wasn’t until I became the Service representative that I truly understood the difference our fundraising efforts make,” the 43 Division Unit Commander said. “I have met so many athletes and had the pleasure to watch them compete and hear their stories. It is truly inspiring. The pure joy and excitement that you can see in their eyes while they are competing is something that you will never forget and from that moment on, you are hooked. When you realize that without our fundraising efforts thousands of Special Olympic athletes would not have these opportunities, well, you do just about anything you can to support the cause, even if that means ‘Freezin for a Reason’ by jumping into a frozen lake or ice filled pool in February.”

Toronto Police Service Virtual Polar Plunge Fundraiser for Special Olympics Ontario

Rydzik said financial support is needed this year more than ever.

“COVID has affected us all, but especially our athletes,” he added. “Not only have they not been able to participate in any of the sports and games that they love, but they have also been isolated from their friends and other supports due to being in a higher risk category of contracting the COVID virus. We also can’t gather and host a traditional Polar Plunge as we have done in the past. Just remember, no matter if you raise $30 or $3,000, every dollar goes to support our athletes whose lives have been changed and enriched through sport, friendship, fun and mentorship.”

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