By: Evan Walsh
MARLBOROUGH – A number of brave souls left the warmth of their homes, cars, and jackets on March 5 to plunge into freezing cold water – all in the name of charity.
The Polar Plunge returned to Marlborough and raised more than $22,000 for Special Olympics Massachusetts (SOMA).
Over 100 people – representing groups such as the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office, Marlborough High School, and Deloitte – took the plunge.
Some cannon-balled, others chose to belly flop, but all were certainly chilled after entering the pool. Many rushed to supporters outside the pool – called towel-holders – for warmth and support.
A number of participants raised funds leading up to the plunge.
Carol Westerman was the top fundraising individual, collecting over $3,000 for SOMA. The Worcester Sheriff’s Office raised $5,140, while Marlborough High School raised $4,581.
Marlborough Officer Andy LaRose Department organized the event. Before becoming the first plunger, LaRose took the opportunity to thank the crowd for their support.
“I want to thank everyone for being here,” LaRose said, “Special Olympics is huge in my life.”
“Every dollar we raise is for all these athletes to come and play sports for free [and] travel. Everything they do is amazing,” he said.
Marlborough’s Polar Plunge is one of over a dozen plunge locations throughout the state. The events were expected to raise over $750,000 for SOMA in total.
In a brief speech before the plunge, SOMA’s Stephanie Esposito said that the state is expected to surpass the previous year’s fundraising.
“[This year’s fundraising] is going to beat last year’s total, and it’s going to beat the year before that,” she announced to the eager plungers. “We are on track for a third record-breaking Polar Plunge season – and it’s all thanks to you.”
Polar Plunge fundraisers are set for Framingham, Newton (Boston College), Lakeville, Harwich, Westfield, and Revere.
“We’ve been holding Polar Plunge events since December, and we’re going to keep going through the month of March,” Esposito said.
For more information on SOMA and the Polar Plunge, visit https://www.specialolympicsma.org