It was a chilly 16 degrees, but that didn’t stop a group of brave individuals representing Minnesota School of Business-Blaine from jumping into Crooked Lake in Coon Rapids, Minn. The group was made up of four people—Dawn Esselman, Kyle Lechleitner, Catherine Rice, and Catherine’s daughter—sporting colorful outfits and positive attitudes. This experience was a first for all of them, and the team raised a total of $735 for Special Olympics Minnesota.
“Having to do the plunge was a wonderful experience and a great way to help support Minnesota Special Olympics. I was able to go to a fun and positive environment that was about giving back and getting to do something that can be life changing. If there was one thing I could have done differently, it would be getting involved with the planning more,” Kyle Lechleitner, MSB-Blaine massage therapy program graduate, said about the event.
Dawn Esselman, massage program adjunct faculty member at MSB-Blaine, had this to say, “One of the main reasons why I decided to do the plunge is the fact that my brother has a Traumatic Brain Injury and has participated in Special Olympics. It was a way for me to give back to a great cause. The plunge is something that I would definitely do again; it was easier than I thought it would be.”
The Polar Bear Plunge is presented by Law Enforcement for Special Olympics Minnesota and hosts more than 15 plunges across the great state of Minnesota. Each plunger is encouraged to raise $75 and will receive a t-shirts as an incentive for his/her efforts. Any additional funds raised mean more incentives for the plunger.
Catherine Rice, accounting program chair at MSB-Blaine, added, “I think the worst part was the fear of it being extremely cold. A temporary discomfort is well worth all the good that it does to bring support for the Special Olympics. It’s easy to forget what others go through on a daily basis and some of the difficulties that they endure. Being cold for a short time was easy, and it really helped to build a sense of teamwork as we all had the same trepidation of what our brain thought it would be like. Anticipation and the unknown made the “fear” much worse than what it was actually like. I think the spectators were colder than the jumpers.”