REHOBOTH BEACH, Del. - In bathing suits, body suits, and everything in between...more than 3,000 raced into the Atlantic Ocean Sunday to help raise money for Special Olympics Delaware.
At 34 degrees, "bears" (that's what they call people who take the Polar Bear Plunge) say the water was "cold," "freezing, "amazing," but with the temperature in the 50s, organizers estimated the unseasonably warm February weather brought out more plungers crawling out of hibernation.
MInutes before the horn blew, sending people into the water, Jon Buzby, with Special Olympics Delaware told WMDT, "I've talked to a lot of people already who say they're here for the first time and it is because of the weather."
Jeff Williamson was one of those first timers. "I have a cousin that has a kid with Down syndrome, and I just thought it would be good for him...you know, and he'll get the money," he says.
Hot or cold, Kathleen Annand and her family travel nearly two hours every year. They started to support her nephew.
"He was 9 when we lost him," she says.
Whether it was a personal connection that brought them out or as Melissa Korik from Habitat For Humanity says, "just something different, and why not raise money for a great cause."
"Bears" at this year's Polar Bear Plunge say "yes, it is so worth it."
More than 3,200 people registered to take today's Plunge, which is actually fewer than last year. Surprisingly, they raised more money, $725,000 for the Special Olympics of Delaware, compared to $650,000 last year.
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