Annual Polar Plunge Surpasses Fundraising Goal

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The community has come through for Special Olympics athletes in Windsor-Essex.

Organizers set a goal of $50,000 for the 2020 Polar Plunge and  residents responded with more than $60,000 in pledges. Close to 250 people made the plunge outside the Windsor International Aquatic and Training Centre at 401 Pitt St. W. Friday night.

Friends and family pledged more than $1,700 to see Mothers Against Drunk Driving's Chaouki Hamka get in the water.

"It just goes to show you how loving and caring the Windsor community is. Not only towards law enforcement but to the special athletes here today," he says. "When you see the athletes' faces, you know it means the world to them. For us as supporters of the event, we love it."

It's Hamka's second time taking the plunge and the first step is still the hardest part.

"You have that little bit of anxiety, you feel that cold wind, but once you jump in it's not too bad," says Hamka. "It was actually easier this year than last year, even though I felt a lot colder this year."

The event has raised more than $260,000 for the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics Ontario over the past six years.

Organizers will release an official total early this week as pledges are still being accepted.