Hundreds jump into Lake Erie for a good cause

HAMBURG, N.Y. (WIVB)- A great reason to be freezing, more than 1,300 people braved a cold Lake Erie Saturday morning to raise money for Special Olympics New York.

This is the organization’s third largest polar plunge in the state. Participants jumped in from Woodlawn Beach.

About 50 volunteer cold water rescue divers and 12 ambulances were on site to keep everyone safe.

This was the ninth year of the event and it may have be the most unusual, with no snow on the ground.

“I was a little worried,” said Renee Snyder, the vice president of development and public awareness. “Our best year to date was 2010 when we had three feet of snow and people were excited. Last year, seven feet of snow was just a little too much for people to handle. This year I was a little worried.. but people want to do it, they’re taking advantage of the sunshine.”

The plunge raised $145,000 dollars for the Western Region. There are 65,000 athletes participating in Special Olympics statewide. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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