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Lethbridge residents take polar plunge to raise funds for Special Olympic athletes

Click to play video: 'Lethbridge residents dive in frigid water to raise funds for Special Olympic athletes'
Lethbridge residents dive in frigid water to raise funds for Special Olympic athletes
Brave souls took a jump into the icy cold water in Lethbridge on Saturday morning for the 8th annual Polar Plunge Challenge. It’s all for a good cause as proceeds go towards Special Olympics Alberta. Taz Dhaliwal reports. – Feb 1, 2020

Brave souls took a jump into the icy cold water in Lethbridge on Saturday morning for the 8th annual Polar Plunge Challenge.

It’s all for a good cause as proceeds go towards Special Olympics Alberta.

It was a windy day in Lethbridge as more than 120 people took a courageous plunge into the icy cold water of Henderson Lake.

“We have the Lethbridge fire department cut a hole in the ice and we all line up — we have 117 plungers registered,” said Const. Mathieu Champagne.

He said they had more plungers who had yet to be registered, and once they were counted for, they’d be able to eclipse the number of participants they’ve had in previous years.

READ MORE: Photos: Hundreds in Edmonton take the plunge for Special Olympics

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“I’d say more than 75 per cent of the plungers are from the community of Lethbridge and surrounding area, so we’re just here raising funds and awareness for the Special Olympics,” Champagne said.

“I’ve been wanting to do something like this for a very long time and I’m glad I was able to do it for charity and with some friends so it was a great experience,” said Levi Reed, who was a participant and member of the Canadian military as well.

Lethbridge is one of five cities taking part in the plunge.

Everyone from law enforcement to firefighters, the military, politicians and even members of the Special Olympics team participated.

Participants across the province are hoping to raise $250,000 as various polar plunges take place this year.

READ MORE: Polar Bear swim: Canadians across the country gear up for icy plunge

“It gave me brain freeze, that tells you how cold it was,” Reed said. “It takes your breath away.”

As plungers got out of the cold water, they had a hot tub waiting for them and it’s safe to say the warmth it provided was greatly appreciated.

“Obviously for the athletes that took part in the plunge they felt like everybody else, very cold, but still very excited,” said Johhny Byrne, the CEO of Special Olympics Alberta.

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“It’s very cool to be with them and plunge alongside them.”

Byrne said more than $30,000 was raised during the day’s event.

The next polar plunge in the province will be taking place in Calgary on Feb. 22.

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