VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) - About 3,310 people braved the icy waters of the Atlantic Ocean Saturday and helped raise more than $1.25 million at the annual Polar Plunge Winter Festival for Special Olympics Virginia.
This year's Plunge set an all-time record for most money raised and marked the third year in a row Plungers raised more than $1 million.
Proceeds from the Plunge help provide year-round support to more than 11,000 Special Olympics athletes and 20,000 volunteers across Virginia.
"Raising one million dollars for the third year in a row is incredible," said Rick Jeffrey, Special Olympics Virginia president. "More importantly, though, these funds will help us to build bigger, better, more inclusive communities across the state of Virginia."
The 2013 Polar Plunge Winter Festival kicked off at 10 a.m. Saturday with the Polar Plunge commencing at 2:30 p.m.
A few of the groups who took the Plunge included 468 local students who raised $77,000 when they took the icy dip Friday at the third annual Polar Plunge Cool School Challenge. Plaza Middle School took top prize for collecting the most money.
Almost 1,000 people got cold feet for a great cause and raised $47,000 during the fourth annual Polar Plunge 5K run Saturday morning.
Forty "Pee-Wees" age 10 and younger plunged into a cool kiddie pool Saturday afternoon and raised $4,000.
Special Olympics Virginia Board of Directors member Roger Giesinger of Chesapeake took home the individual fundraising prize for the seventh year in a row with more than $30,000 raised.
More than 90 Special Olympics athletes and family members from the Fredericksburg area took home the top team fundraising award with more than $75,000 raised.
Special Olympics Virginia asked that everyone mark their calendar for the 22nd Annual Polar Plunge Winter Festival set for Feb. 7-8, 2014.
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