Snow on the ground was not a deterrent for some brave souls who plunged into the Alouette River Thursday morning – all for a good cause.
About 40 participants took part in the third annual Ridge Meadows RCMP Polar Plunge took place in support of Special Olympics BC, including 10 members from the Ridge Meadows RCMP detachment and eight from the Alouette Correctional Centre for Women – Team ACCW.
Other teams included the bylaws department at Pitt Meadows City Hall, the Ridge Meadows Crime Prevention Team, Community Safety Officers from the City of Maple Ridge, Rotary Club of Golden Ears Sunrise, forensics, Phantom Screens, and Special Olympians themselves, who ran into the river at Menzies Crossing in Pitt Meadows.
In previous years the plunge was held at Alouette Lake in Golden Ears Provincial Park. However, this year the road into the park road was closed, causing organizers to make a last minute location change.
Money raised will help Special Olympics BC provide life-changing sport, youth, and health programs to more than 5,200 people with intellectual disabilities from across the province, said Staff Sgt. Michelle Luca, while addressing the crowd before the plunge.
Luca noted that the Law Enforcement Torch Run takes place in June where officers run with the Special Olympics athletes to raise awareness and funds for the organization.
“It is exciting that we have been able to expand this relationship to include the polar plunge,” said Luca.
Special Olympian Katherine St. Amand, 30, who has been in the Special Olympics since she was 13-years-old, listed six sports she competes in including power lifting, track and field and downhill skiing. St. Amand dressed for the event in blue dress and cape and couldn’t wait to get “Freezin’ 4 a Reason” – the hashtag being used to post pictures of the event.
Officer in charge of the Ridge Meadows detachment, Supt. Wendy Mehat thanked everyone for being at the event including those lending a hand behind the scenes like Pitt Meadows Fire and Rescue and the underwater recovery team.
As of Thursday, March 2, the Ridge Meadows RCMP have raised $9,453 of their $10,000 fundraising goal. This was the first year that the women’s correctional centre had a team in the event and raised the most amount of money with $2,783. The RCMP team in Pitt Meadows raised $1,750, the Maple Ridge Bylaw Team raised $1,380, Phantom Screens raised $1,300, the general RCMP team raised $690, $600 from the Rotary Club of Golden Ears Sunrise, Special Olympics BC Ridge Meadows raised $550, and the Ridge Meadows Forensics Unit $350.
Top individual fundraiser was Ryan from the ACCW, who raised $1,100, Maple Ridge Community Safety Officer Ravi Pawar raised $855 and Celina Dominelli raised $830. St. Amand raised $550 by herself.
The polar plunge will continue across the province until March 5.
Around 360 plungers in B.C. have raised more than $250,000 for Special Olympics BC, noted Luca.
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