Victoria Police Department members were “freezin’ for a reason” at last year’s Polar Plunge for Special Olympics BC. Manak, right, will return to participate in the 2020 event, Sunday at 10 a.m. at Willows Beach. (Black Press Media File)

Hundreds expected to take the plunge at Willows Beach, Sunday

Greater Victoria police taking part in Polar Plunge to raise funds for Special Olympics BC

The Vancouver Island Polar Plunge for Special Olympics returns to Willows Beach for the third straight year on Sunday.

There are more than 100 “plungers” already registered for the chilly challenge that Oak Bay Police Const. Sheri Lucas brought to Willows in 2018. The Plunge event and activities start at 10 a.m.

“We started a committee back in 2014 with the vision of increasing our fundraising goals, this helped us to focus and grow specific events,” Lucas said. “The Polar Plunge was a new event in 2018 and we started a bigger committee just for this event which included more stakeholders.”

Lucas’ role is to help promote the event, find sponsors and handle media relations.

The money is used to train the athletes in B.C., including renting venues and assisting with travel expenses, should the need arise. It provides opportunities for athletes to empower and transform themselves, she said.

“Every year I feel a stronger connection to the athletes,” Lucas said. “I have been raising money for Special Olympics for over 20 years and their strength of character and determination is addicting. I really wish everyone would spend some time with an athlete and see what a bit of hard work and determination can do.”

Lucas attended two Special Olympic World Game ceremonies, one in Austria in 2017 and one in Abu Dhabi last year

“I will never forget the way I felt watching the athletes enter the stadium representing their country, overpowering emotion,” Lucas said.

READ MORE: Over 100 plungers dip in Willows for Polar Plunge

Plungers must raise a minimum of $75 to participate ($50 for students, youth and Special Olympics athletes). This year’s target is $30,000 for Special Olympics BC.

So far, they’ve already raised $25,000, Lucas said.

“You may only spend a few moments in the freezing water, but your impact will be felt for far longer – because funds raised will help change lives across the province,” said Dan Howe, president and CEO of Special Olympics BC.

Staged in partnership with the Law Enforcement Torch Run for SOBC, the Vancouver Island Polar Plunge will see champions from many agencies including B.C. Sheriff Services, Canada Border Services Agency, Central Saanich Police Service, Oak Bay Police Department, RCMP, Saanich Police Department, Victoria Police Department, and The 5th (British Columbia) Field Artillery Regiment.

Corporate teams, Special Olympics athletes, and members of the public are also encouraged to participate.

“VicPD officers are excited to be part of the Polar Plunge again this year,” says Victoria Police Chief Del Manak. “We’re looking forward to braving the cold waters in support of Special Olympics BC and the tremendous work they do in enriching the lives of individuals with intellectual disabilities by providing them with opportunities to celebrate personal achievements through positive sport experiences.”

READ ALSO: Polar Plunge hits Willows to raise funds for Special O

Willows Beach will have live music, law enforcement vehicle displays, prizes, and giveaways. Special Olympics BC provides programs and competitions for more than 5,200 athletes in 55 communities around the province.

Register at www.plunge4specialolympics.com before partaking on Sunday.

reporter@oakbaynews.com

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