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"Freezin' for a reason:" Yinzers take the plunge into an icy pool to raise money for Special Olympics

Students take the plunge at Acrisure Stadium for Special Olympics
Students take the plunge at Acrisure Stadium for Special Olympics 02:17

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - Thousands of people were "freezin' for a reason" Friday, taking the polar plunge outside Acrisure Stadium in support of Special Olympics Pennsylvania.

Holding hands with three of her friends, Catey Helm took the jump into an icy cold pool.

"This is just amazing," Helm said.

It was the Franklin Regional High School senior's third time.

"It was a surge of energy. It is freezing, but it was so good," she said.

She's done it with Savannah Lawrence all those years, but compared to the first year when it was raining, the weather was much milder.

"It wasn't too bad today," Lawrence said.

They were two of 1,900 students from 55 schools in the Greater Pittsburgh area, many of them unified champion schools, who took part in the first day of the organization's polar plunge on the North Shore, that is expected to see more than 4,000 participants during the two-day event.

Andrew Fee is the executive director for the Three Rivers region.

"It's just an act of doing something crazy, you know, being that Yinzer, jumping in the freezing cold water," Fee said.

He said this marked the 15th year of holding their biggest annual fundraiser outside Acrisure Stadium, which raises money and brings awareness to their programs.

"People with intellectual disabilities suffer from social isolation, being told 'no' a lot in their life," Fee said. "Special Olympics allows them to come out, participate on a team, be a member of that team, and play sports, win gold medals."

It means the world to Maddie Bahnak, also a senior at Franklin, who took a dip herself.

"It makes me feel happy," Bahnak said.

There are a lot of freezing feelings. Sabeel Collins, a freshman at Pittsburgh CAPA, knows them all too well.

"It's like a brick wall," Collins said.

However, they said it's worth it.

"Every day like they could go through challenges so I think one day, us just jumping in and dealing with something that's difficult for us, is like a good reason to do it for them," Lawrence said.

"I love these kids with my own heart. It's just a cause and a great thing for everyone to do and it's inclusive," Helm said.

The plunge continues Saturday at 9 a.m., and you still have time to register. 

You can do so in person or online at this link

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