By Matthew O’Connor
“Freezin’ for a Reason” was the fifth annual polar bear plunge hosted at Jacob Riis Park in Rockaway, March 23. Money was being raised for Special Olympics New York. Many of the athletes themselves came out to brace the water. With the help of their family, friends and supporters, $32,117 dollars were raised.
Special Olympics New York Associate Director of Development and event manager Pamela Parker was excited to see so many people come out and show their bravery.
“We are raising money for the amazing athletes of Special Olympics New York,” said Parker. “Our athletes are individuals with intellectual disabilities and our organization provides them opportunities to train and compete in 22 Olympic style sports with no charge. So, we are here for celebrating the Queens community for raising money to keep those programs available to our athletes.”
There are currently about 41,000 Special Olympic athletes in New York City that train throughout the city thanks to volunteers who help the organization.
The money is used to provide training and competition opportunities in different Olympic-style sports and to cover all costs from sports equipment and uniforms, to travel expenses and medals.
Howard Dy was one of the very brave plungers who jumped into the freezing Atlantic Ocean.
“I saw a seminar through the NYPD and thought that was something I could help with,” said Dy. “I was inspired and saw that this was a great cause to be able to be a part of and make a difference. There are so many athletes with special needs, so I wanted to see if I could do it and wanted to try and help.”
Staff from DeSales Media Group, the technology and communications arm of the Diocese of Brooklyn and parent company of The Tablet, came out to support and jump in the waves. They were able to raise $1,380.