Members of the Greater Victoria Law Enforcement Torch Run committee wore their uniforms into Willows on Feb. 11 to kickstart the 2021 virtual Polar Plunge for Special Olympics B.C. (Sheri Lucas Photo)

Members of the Greater Victoria Law Enforcement Torch Run committee wore their uniforms into Willows on Feb. 11 to kickstart the 2021 virtual Polar Plunge for Special Olympics B.C. (Sheri Lucas Photo)

Polar Plunge goes virtual for 2021

Oak Bay Police challenge public to plunge

The fourth annual Polar Plunge is going virtual this year.

The fundraiser for Special Olympics B.C. first came to Victoria in 2018 and brought hundreds to Willows Beach on Feb. 17, 2020. Then came the pandemic, the ongoing ban on social gatherings and isolation.

Now it’s time to break the ice-olation, said Oak Bay Police Sgt. Sheri Lucas, member of the local Law Enforcement Torch Relay team, and coordinator of the event.

The invitation is for anyone to record themselves or others participating in the chilly challenge and then share the videos and photos on social media to qualify for contests and prizes. And also to build awareness and donate.

READ ALSO: Third annual Polar Plunge for Special Olympics

“Be creative. Do a snow angel. Jump in the ocean. Eat ice cream until you get brain freeze. Just be creative and show your support for the Special Olympics B.C.,” said Lucas, who entered the cold waters of Willows as Batwoman last year.

The 2020 event raised over $40,000 and the goal is to raise $100,000 this year.

Because it’s virtual, Lucas is hoping it’s even more inclusive.

“Anyone can do it. [Geographically] we’ve been limited to places that hold a plunge but because this is virtual, if you’re in Port Renfrew or Zeballos, you can take part. It opens it up to more people being able to participate,” she said.

Lucas, with Oak Bay Police’s “Team Quaranteam” of Deputy Chief Mark Fisher and Const. Julie Chanin, joined other law enforcement members for their virtual dip at Willows Beach on Feb. 11.

There was nothing virtual about it. That Thursday just happened to be the coldest day of the winter so far, – 2 C, with a cruel wind making the experience even colder.

“It was the coldest water I’ve experienced so far, even colder than when I [plunged] in Austria,” Lucas said, referring to when she participated in a leg of the global Special Olympics torch relay in Austria, and a dip in the unheated, outdoor hotel pool.

READ MORE: Pandemic raises stakes for B.C. residents with intellectual disabilities

The province-wide Polar Plunge for Special Olympics contest and fundraiser opens Feb. 20 and runs until March 7. Register anytime to fundraise to be a “Plunger” and raise money to support Special Olympics B.C. at specialolympics.ca.

Special Olympics B.C. is dedicated to the lives of individuals with intellectual disabilities through sport with chapters in 55 communities around the province. More than 5,200 athletes compete in 18 different sports, thanks to the dedicated efforts of more than 4,300 volunteers.

reporter@oakbaynews.com


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