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Polar Plunge returning to Dickinson in March

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Dickinson Polar Plunge Event Chair Ryan Kilwein participates in the chilly event every year that helps raise as much as $12,000 every year for Special Olympics North Dakota. Pre-registration has begun for this year's event on March 7. (The Dickinson Press)

Polar Plunge for Special Olympics North Dakota is returning to Dickinson on March 7.

The annual fundraiser is organized by North Dakota Law Enforcement as part of the year-round Law Enforcement Torch Run to raise awareness and fund to benefit Special Olympics North Dakota.

Volunteers raise a minimum of $75 for the opportunity to jump into freezing cold water just to help Special Olympics.

Jena Pierce, SOND Director of Development, called it "an amazingly unique event."

"It encourages people to be as brave as our athletes are every day of their life," she said. "And not everyone is willing to jump into freezing cold water and to pay money to do it. That's what makes these people so special."

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The annual event will again be hosted by Prairie Hills Mall.

"We're very happy to be a host of the event," Mall Manager Peggy O'Brien said. "We have a wonderful relationship with the Special Olympics and CashWise, and we're just happy to work together to bring this event to Dickinson."

Polar Plunge in Dickinson has raised as much as $12,000 in previous years.

The funds raised do make a difference, Pierce said.

"We have 1,600 athletes across the state of North Dakota that we provide year-round sporting opportunities for and we can't do that without the efforts of people out there donating," she said. "Every plunger who pays that minimum, and many of them raise much more, are integral to keeping our program going."

The event is a popular one in Dickinson.

"We have a very strong following," Pierce said. "Many of the same people who plunge come back year after year, and it's one of the events they look forward to the most."

Event Chair for Dickinson Ryan Kilwein called the plunge experience "exhilarating."

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"It can be cold or warm, depending on the weather. It can be a little chilly or a warm dip," he said. "Hitting that water can take your breath away."

Seeing so many people participate is always inspiring, Kilwein said, and he encourages everyone to get involved.

"It's great to have a lot of the community involved and all the volunteers we get," he said. "It makes for a great time."

He added, "It's definitely an opportunity to do something different."

Participants must raise a minimum of $75 for the entry fee. The event includes a number of contests, including best costume, youngest plunger, most money raised by an individual, and most money raised by a team.

Registration takes place on March 7 starting at 11 a.m.

Pre-registration can be done online at www.firstgiving.com/sond or by contacting Special Olympics North Dakota at 746-0331.

Related Topics: POLAR PLUNGE
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