Special Olympics benefit from annual Polar Plunge

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SHAWNEE, Kan. -- Hundreds of people in the metro were thankful for a rare balmy January day on Saturday.

It made it a little easier to take the annual Polar Plunge for the Special Olympics at Shawnee Mission Park.

Regardless of the temperatures, some people will do just about anything for a good cause.

On Saturday morning, with something akin to small icebergs drifting across the lake at Shawnee Mission Park, the water was really only fit for wild geese. But that didn’t keep lines of eager plungers from going into the freezing temperatures.

"I'm not sure what a strategy would be for jumping into a freezing lake in January, be we get up there and go in with great enthusiasm.  I can assure you that," said Evan Haake, who was on the Coca-Cola team.

Adorned in costumes ranging from superheroes and Vikings to freezing federal agents and hula girls, the plungers agreed to the bone chilling dash. And they did it all for the athletes of the Special Olympics.

“One simple thing, it comes down to the athletes. The glow in their eyes and the smile on their faces makes it all worthwhile," said Adam Taylor, of the Prairie Village Police Department.

Eleven-year-old Kate Hermann raised more than a $1,000 for the Special Olympics and Saturday it paid off.

"I made a deal with my dad that if we raised more than $1,000 he will have to wear a speedo," said Hermann.

"It’s not going to be pretty but it’s going to be worth it," said Kate’s father, Craig Hermann, of the Shawnee Police Department.

And frozen fun for all mixed with a healthy dose of humiliation was really what made the whole thing work.

"It was awesome fun freezing!" said

The lake water was so cold that most plungers were only in it for about 15 seconds.

A couple FOX 4 ladies also took the plunge. Abby Eden and Michelle Bogowith dressed in costume. They were supposed to be "shark-nado." Eden was the shark, and Bogowith was the tornado.

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