It was -14 C with the wind chill in Lethbridge Saturday morning, but that didn’t stop more than 100 police officers, paramedics, firefighters and civilians from jumping into Henderson Lake for the annual Polar Plunge.
“This is the coldest day ever,” Izabella Melgaco, a foreign exchange student from Brazil, said. “My winter is 20 C and I have never felt something like that before.”
But even for Canadians, doing the Polar Plunge was a challenge.
“I couldn’t even talk when I got up to the ladder,” Erikka Weisgerber said. “Your body is just in complete and total shock.”
“Kind of like you’re being hit by a truck, let’s put it that way,” Elizabeth Kaculin said.
A record 100 plus plungers participated. Organizers estimate more than $21,000 was raised for Special Olympics Alberta, another record for Lethbridge.
“To put that in perspective, Edmonton raised $60,000, we’re 10% the population and we did one third what they did,”Cst. Mathieu Champagne, lead event organizer, said.
“All the money raised stays within the province, a lot of it stays down here in Lethbridge as well, so it benefits our athletes locally,” Cst. Braylon Hyggen said.
The Polar Plunge is a fundraiser presented by the Law Enforcement Torch Run to support Special Olympics Alberta. There are 3,000 athletes with an intellectual disability who take part in daily sport programs in the province.
There are four Polar Plunge events in Alberta this year. The next one is February 25th in Calgary.