Freezing for a good cause


On Feb 28., local Special Olympics  held a polar plunge fundraiser at Brighton High School. Over 120 jumpers participated in the plunge, raising more than $38,000.


Special Olympics is a nonprofit organization that carries out sports programs for people with intellectual disabilities such as autism and down syndrome. They have held the annual polar plunge for the past 13 years to raise money to help run their program. Sports include soccer, track and field, softball, basketball, skiing, snowshoe, poly hockey, golf, and bowling. These sports programs give children and adults with disabilities the opportunity and experience of what it’s like to be part of a team.


“I attend the plunge every year because my best friends Michele and Charles Packard are very involved with Special Olympics- they coach and their son Teague participates in sports through Special Olympics. I know many others involved within the organization as athletes or coaches and love supporting the cause through these fun activities,” teacher Ms. Tracy Flak says.


Polar plunge brings out many different people. Whether they’re there supporting friends or they have a family member who’s an athlete, there’s one common goal. To help raise money to be able to continue the Special Olympics, to let these people get to do what they love.


“I jumped to give back to an organization that has done incredible things for me and my family,” athlete Lane Heximer says.


Laurel McLeod has been involved with Special Olympics for 16 years. Her younger brother Scott, who was diagnosed with autism at age four, started competing in track and field. The family jumped head first into the organization, helping out with many sports. She currently coaches bocce ball.


“I jumped because all the athletes from Special Olympics have changed my life in so many ways. This is my way of giving back to them and say thank you,” McLeod says.


Tina Heximer has been involved with Special Olympics since she was 9 years old. She plays basketball, poly hockey, swimming, soccer, and softball. At first, it was all about learning new sports, but she developed close friendships with her teammates and coaches.


“I jumped because I wanted to support the organization that has pushed me to better myself,” athlete Tina Heximer says.


“Special Olympics Michigan and Area 27 have provided so many great opportunities for my daughters and all athletes to play sports and attend special events. I want to help make sure we can continue to do this,” coach Guy Stevenson says.