Published Mon, Feb 11, 2013 5:57 pm Dateline
More than 200 people were freezing for a reason Saturday, as they jumped into an Athens County lake to raise thousands of dollars for an Ohio charity.
Representatives from businesses, Ohio University students and community members plunged into freezing water at Lake Snowden for the sixth annual Polar Bear Plunge.
The event, co-sponsored by the OU fraternity Phi Kappa Theta and the OU Police Department, raised $27,621 for Special Olympics Ohio.
"Everything raised [Saturday] goes toward their general operations that benefits over 23,000 athletes with intellectual disabilities across the state," said Cody Pyle, a student coordinator for the event.
Plungers could submit their name online and raise money for their individual or group plunge prior to the big day.
The theme for this year's plunge was "Under The Big Top," and people of all ages participated in a costume contest, judged by Athens Mayor Paul and others.
The main attraction, though, was the plunge itself, and thrilled many of the daring participants who dove into the cold water.
"Oh, it instantly took my breath away. Like, total shock. I came up out of the water and tried to scream and couldn't. It just took the air all out of me." said, Greg Croxford, an OU student participant.
Some portions of the lake were still frozen Saturday, as temperatures stayed in the upper 20's.
After the plunge, participants and supporters celebrated their brave dive and fundraising efforts at an Buffalo Wild Wings in Athens.