Take the plunge 

The McNary team getting ready for the 5K 

With more than 600 people in attendance, the Special Olympics Oregon organization held its annual free polar plunge this past weekend, Saturday Jan. 28, at the Illahe Hills Country Club. 

The event serves as one of the largest fundraising events the organization holds throughout the year with funds raised going to aid the 5000 Oregonian special athletes with training and helping them compete in Special Olympics events. 

According to event manager Jessica Carpenter, this year’s event has been successful as they have raised more than $72,000 out of their desired $87,000, which is nearly $10,000 more raised than last year at the same time. 

Overall, the Salem Special Olympics have raised more than $315,000 out of the desired $1 million. 

The event started at 10 a.m. with a 5k that winded throughout the Salem community then, at 11 a.m., attendees were able to participate in the polar plunge held in the outdoor pool at the club, though other polar plunge events are held in a river, according to Carpenter. 

Carpenter described how the original idea was to hold the polar plunge in the Willamette, though due to faster moving currents and cleanliness the event was switched to the club’s outdoor pool. 

Despite the warm sunny weather that day, the water, which gave no such comfort to participants, was a chilly 50 degrees F. 

Multiple community groups were in attendance for the plunge and were grouped into teams to take turns jumping into the frigid depths. 

McNary, South Salem and West Salem high schools were just a few of the teams in attendance attempting to raise money. 

Carpenter noted the McNary team, a combination of parents, teachers and students, had a strong team this year and have raised more than $2,600 alone for the event with an overall goal of $4,000. 

For those wanting to donate check them out at https://support.

McNary will get back 50% of what they raise to support their Unified Champion school programs. 

Other teams came in fun costumes from a Barbie theme, to construction workers to a Harry Potter-themed team. The Salem plunge over the weekend was the first of several plunge events held by the organization.

In the coming weeks, events will be held in Portland on Feb. 24 as well as in Eugene and Bend on March 2. For those interested in more information, who want to donate or who want to check out more pictures visit:

The McNary team post plunge 
Kickin’ Cancer in the Ice Water Team / superhero theme (Matthew Miller, owner of Millers BBQ and Café, as chubby Thor (far left), Lisa Reynoso (center left), Amanda Smith with KSLM Radio (center right), Baron Robison, Executive Director of Kickin’ Cancer) (far right) 
The Sumpter Stingrays in their Let’s Go Barbie theme 

Contact Quinn Stoddard
[email protected] or 503-390-1051

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