[KHTS] – With more than 200 people in attendance, the annual Polar Plunge at Castaic’s lower lake raised $25,000 for the Santa Clarita Valley’s Special Olympics athletes Saturday.
The event was hosted by the Law Enforcement Torch Run, an organization that works to raise awareness of the Special Olympics and bring in money for its programs.
The event kicked off this morning with a free pancake breakfast provided by the Castaic Lions Club and a daring helicopter performance by the crew of the Sheriff’s Department’s Air 5 rescue helicopter.
A crew member from Air 5, following a bit of technical difficulty with the floating landing pad, successfully rapeled with the Olympic torch onto the beach, amidst cheers from the crowd.
Following its aerobatic entrance, the torch was led across the water by a kayak-borne athlete and lit atop the beach.
After the conclusion of the opening events, the costume-clad teams mentally prepared for their imminent plunge.
With several lake lifeguards supervising on surfboards, the teams rushed, one by one, into the waters of Castaic’s lower lake.
The Regional Director of the Special Olympics for Santa Clarita and the Tri-Valley, Laura Mayo, did not shy away from the frigid waters and led her team’s charge off the beach for a good cause.
“Were here to raise money so our athletes can continue to participate at no cost to them,” Mayo said.
Mayo’s team, Rock N Roll Lake of Fame, raised a total of $3,947 for today’s plunge.
“Our goal is to raise money for the amazing athletes of the Antelope Valley,” said Donna Wilson, following her team’s performance. Wilson, captain of the six-person AV Dunkers, jumped in with her team of donut-designed inner-tubes, whistles a-blazing.
The AV Dunkers were able to collect $1,710 for the Special Olympics through their fundraising efforts.
Luckily for today’s participants, the weather provided a comfortable backdrop to the Polar Plunge and participants finished their morning dunks with smiles.
– Dale Fairclough