The Polar Plunge is held in both Galesburg and Rock Island every year and is the largest fundraiser for Area 4. The events combined raised $120,000 in 2015 and that money covers over half of the annual budget for Area 4. The event has grown almost every year in funds raised and participants since 2002. Cathy plays a major role in the Polar Plunge as she organizes the entire event. She promotes the event, recruits participants and volunteers, and facilitates the event. The event is incredibly important to Area 4, which is why Cathy is so dedicated to making it the best it can be. Cathy works to improve the event every year; she was recently contacted by Western Illinois University about having a third event in Macomb in 2016. She is incredibly excited to be able to expand the program.
The Polar Plunge is an event that is held all over the state of Illinois during the winter months every year. Participants have to raise at least $75 each in order to be able to run into freezing water. People plunge in costumes, with groups, and individually. The event brings people together in a fun and exciting way to raise money for the Special Olympics. There were 21 events in the state of Illinois in 2015, which raised over $2 million by over 7,000 participants. The money raised is critical to the Special Olympics as athletes participate at no cost (http://www.soill.org/polar-plunge/).