By Lethbridge Herald on February 6, 2016.
Dozens take a frigid dip
for the Special Olympics
City councillors Blaine Hyggen and Rob Miyashiro hadnâ€™t even fully regained a proper body temperature on Saturday before they started calling out others to do a Polar Plunge.
â€œThereâ€™s a challenge weâ€™re going to put out there,â€ said Hyggen, who was donning an 1980â€™s-inspired long hair wig which came off during his entry into Nicholas Sheran Lake.
â€œBlaine and I want to challenge Calgary City Council and Mayor (Naheed) Nenshi,â€ Miyashiro said. â€œTheir Polar Plunge is at the end of the month in Calgary and we want to see if they have what it takes to do this.â€
The pair of Lethbridge councillors were two of the about 50 participants during Saturdayâ€™s fifth annual Polar Plunge Freeze â€™em for a Reason event at Nicholas Sheran Lake.
Hosted by the Lethbridge Police Service and the Alberta Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR), the Polar Plunge is held to help raise funds for Special Olympics.
â€œItâ€™s one of Lethbridgeâ€™s more successful Special Olympics fundraisers,â€ said Const. Steve Baker of the LPS, who was one of the event organizers.
â€œLast year, per capita, we raised more than anybody else in the province. We want to raise awareness about Special Olympics and how important it is that we support these athletes. But also having the community all come together is great as well.â€
â€œI used to work in the disabilities sector, and getting people with disabilities involved in sporting activities like this is huge,â€ said Miyashiro. â€œIt gives them a sense of community.â€
The thermometer may have said it was 6 C outside, but a chilly wind had jumpers promptly heading to the nearby hot tub. There was also enough ice present to warrant a hole being cut for access to the frigid water.
Members of the Lethbridge Fire Department Dive team were on site to ensure everyoneâ€™s safety in the icy water. LPS Chief Rob Davis, who was attired in a bunny suit, said that water was colder than he anticipated.
â€œThis is my second Polar Plunge here in Lethbridge,â€ Davis said. â€œI would have taken last year with the colder temperatures and less wind, than this temperature with the wind this year.â€
People were able to take the plunge alone or as part of team, by making a donation. Baker said the goal was to raise more than $7,000, with all proceeds going to Special Olympics.