Let’s face it. Jumping into a hole in the ice during a record-breaking winter for low temperatures is, well, just crazy. But every year, that’s just what hundreds of people do at Pleasant Lake near Rockville, Minn., in order to support 7,800 Special Olympics athletes in Minnesota.
Minnesota School of Business (MSB) medical assistant chair Lisa Smith donned sock monkey hat, mittens and slippers to make the splash.
“This is a great way to give back. I have worked with very special people in the past giving riding lessons to help encourage their growth and love for animals,” Smith said. “This was another way that I could help those who want to better themselves even with the restrictions that they may have. Everyone has different struggles and hurdles to jump, but we can all make it.”
Massage therapy student, Samantha Gertken, agrees that the cause motivated her to jump.
“The Special Olympics are a good thing to have for a special group of people,” Gertken said.
She laughs that it wasn’t exactly what she expected, however. “I was told that there would be hot tubs before and after the jump, and there were no hot tubs. But it was nice to see all the people from all over come together and help with the cause.”
Health Careers Association President Mike Dase did not jump but helped raise funds for the event. He is a personal care attendant at REM Central Lakes care facility and serves people with special needs.
“Because of my job, I have a special connection to this event,” he said.
Dase helped organize the team, MSB Bookworms, which raised $370 for the Special Olympics.
So the real question is: How cold was it?
Smith replies, “It was a shocker jumping in even with the sock monkey gear! It took an entire day to warm up afterward.”
Gertken said, “I’m not going to lie—it was cold. The water temperature itself wasn’t as bad as it was getting out of the water, and the addition of the wind made it even colder. I think I went into a little bit of a shock because I scrambled getting out of the water, like I couldn’t get out fast enough!”
Despite the discomfort, everyone agreed the day was worth the effort.
“It was amazing to see the diversity of people that were jumping, their costumes, and the amount of people giving back,” Smith reflected. “I will be doing this next year as well. I was glad that the students were able to take part in this event and hope that they will be back next year to jump with me!”
Sounds like a new MSB tradition!