Lewes Polar Bear Plunge raises record funds in its 25th year
It was the first Sunday of February, but with the amount of foot traffic on the boardwalk and people walking around in towels and bathing suits, you’d think it was summertime.
Special Olympics Delaware held the 25th annual Lewes Polar Bear Plunge, raising a record $820,000. 3,501 people participated this year, nearly 200 more than last year.
Joe Derosa, who’s 85 years old, chose to wear a top hat, tuxedo shorts and a garlic necklace that he’s had for 10 years. And he’s been to 28 different Plunge events in the region. For him, this was a family event.
“We have fourteen of us, four generations. Most of us are going in. My great-grandchildren, my grandchildren, my daughter and myself," said Derosa.
Another participant, Alex Huzneski, also came with his family, who all wore polar bear hats. But his young son, who has Down’s Syndrome, is the main reason they came out to this event.
“Because [the Plunge’s cause] touches us because of our son and all of his friends and that’s why we got into it," said Huzneski.
And he sees his son becoming a future Special Olympian.
“The bottom line is it’s an incredible event to bring this many people together, both plunging and close to 20,000 people who are just here to watch," said Jon Buzby, spokesman for Special Olympics Delaware. "It creates a lot of awareness for Special Olympics Delaware and what we do.”
There are no rules as to what one can wear into the water, but many only wore bathing suits. The air temperature was 45 degrees and the water temperature was 43 degrees.
The Lewes Polar Bear Plunge has raised more than $9.12 million in its 25-year history.