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2024 Polar Plunge Season Celebrates Record-Breaking Season for Third Consecutive Year

Special Olympics Michigan (SOMI)  is dedicated to creating a world that accepts and welcomes every person regardless of ability or disability. The 2024 Polar Plunge season celebrated the push for a more inclusive world, with record-breaking crowds and funds raised for the third consecutive year. 

The initial $1.5 million collective fundraising goal for more than 25 locations statewide was reached only weeks into the 2024 Polar Plunge season. The Polar Plunge season closed well above its anticipated target, with 8,600 hundred Plungers raising more than $1.9 million. 

“Every year it keeps getting better and better and bigger and bigger,” said Andrea Rachko, Senior Director of LETR & Events for Special Olympics Michigan. “Every Polar Plunge site either hit or surpassed budget. It was an outstanding season to see what people are able to do to come together and support the athletes.”  

The Polar Plunge is presented by the Michigan Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR), a movement of volunteers dedicated to increasing awareness and funds for SOMI athletes across the state. 

 Funds raised enable more than 20,000 athletes to compete, travel, and showcase a message of inclusion at statewide events at no cost to them. 

“What you are doing for our athletes is life-changing,” said Stephanie Graham, Polar Plunger Coordinator LETR of the Polar Plunge participants. “None of our athletes have to pay to participate in events, and it’s because of fundraisers like you.”

In 2022 and 2023 – as a result of grassroots fundraising efforts – Michigan LETR raised more than $2 million annually for SOMI athletes, fully funding the Special Olympics Michigan State Summer Games, three days of sports competition at the largest state competition of the year. Michigan LETR intends fund to State Summer Games and day-long regional athlete competition again in 2024.

In addition to thousands of individual Plungers gathering at more than two dozen locations throughout the state, seven Michigan Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools hosted Polar Plunges on campus, offering a Cool Schools Plunge. The Cools School Plunge encourages students and staff to come together and celebrate the Special Olympics movement by taking the Plunge together and raising funds as a student body. This year, students and staff raised more than $200,000.

The Polar Plunge is Special Olympics Michigan’s largest annual fundraiser.

High-resolution photos are available for download here.