People take a 'polar plunge' to raise money for Special Olympics

More than 400 people jumped into the wave pool at SeaWorld’s Aquatica water park for this year's Special Olympics Polar Plunge. 

"It is fun to be here today because I can see my friends from other counties," said James Holder, a Special Olympics athlete.

So maybe Central Florida’s relatively warm temps didn't make the event quite so chilly, but it still raised some cold, hard cash for the Special Olympics organization. 

"I raised a hundred dollars!" said Special Olympics athlete Ryan Letcher.

This was the 13th annual Polar Plunge at Aquatica. The event raised more than $150,000 for the Special Olympics. Along with individuals, groups of friends, coworkers, and civic groups also took the plunge and raised the money.

"Over the years, probably about $120,000. Today, we raised over $16,000," said Chuck Plourde, from the Florida Moose Lodge.

Special Olympics officials say the group's 60,000 athletes in Florida get so much from the organization beyond just the fun of sports.

 "We offer really amazing health exams, eight different disciplines our athletes participate in, from audiology to podiatry, to hearing," said Sherry Wheelock, president of Special Olympics Florida. "We provide prescription glasses, hearing aids, all the things they need to be healthy on the field and also back in their daily lives."