2024 Polar Plunge fundraiser for Special Olympics Oregon athletes

MEDFORD, Ore. – The 2024 Polar Plunge to raise money for Special Olympics Oregon athletes couldn’t have come on a more perfect, snowy Saturday (3/2/2024).

Event manager, Kim Andresen said,

“We say the cold is temporary, but the impact is not and that is really true because the impact lasts the entire year for our Special Olympics Athletes, it’s a game changer for sure.”

Though snow on the valley floor is sometimes a rare sight, it didn’t stop the hundreds of people who came to support the 2024 Polar Plunge. It’s a time where people jump into the Rogue Valley Country Club’s cold pool but be freezing for a reason. Plungers donated to help Special Olympics Oregon athletes receive year-round training, sports equipment, uniforms and more.

Kim Andresen said,

“Some of our athletes, this is their thing, this is their only thing and so being connected through sports not only helps their well-being but it’s also just amazing. They were out here, they were plunging today, they were raising money, thousands and thousands of dollars, as well as 35 other community groups and organizations.”

Eric Thompson is a Special Olympic athlete. He said the opportunity for people with special needs or disabilities to play sports means a lot to him,

“Special Olympics has provided different ways for them to have health, being able to try different challenges and the volunteers, coaches have always been there.”

Many groups were up to the task of plunging and were all able to raise over $80,000. The groups included different police agencies, schools, organizations and even a few familiar faces from NBC5, who say that the event highlighted the strength of the community.

NBC5 News at Sunrise anchor Marcus Veal said,

“You have agencies in Jackson and Josephine County all rallying together to support a cause like this. It’s what local charities [are] all about.”

NBC5 News at Sunrise producer Ben Blake said,

“As you can see today, there’s a lot of people in the community that want to help out and get involved and bring a lot to the cause.”

There will be a Special Olympics basketball tournament next weekend (3/9/2024), at Rogue X.

© 2024 KOBI-TV NBC5. All rights reserved unless otherwise stated.

Maximus Osburn is a reporter for NBC5 News. He studied at California State University-Northridge, graduating with a degree in Broadcasting. Maximus is an avid martial arts enthusiast and combat sports fan. He even traveled to Thailand to train with martial arts experts. Maximus loves movies, nature, and doing things outside his comfort zone, like swimming in sub-freezing lakes in the winter.
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