Over 600 take the Delaware River plunge to benefit Special Olympics (PHOTOS) – lehighvalleylive.com

Posted: February 22, 2020 at 8:46 pm


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Wearing an orange DOC jumpsuit, Chris Adamcik strolled around Eastons Scott Park handcuffed to his son, 14-year-old Zeven Adamcik, who wore a shirt emblazoned with POLICE.

They were members of the Chillie Willies team getting ready for the eighth annual Lehigh Valley Polar Plunge into the Delaware River, and the team's theme for 2020 was cops and robbers.

"It'll be down to shorts when it's time to go in the water, but for now we've got our costumes going," saiid Chris Adamcik.

Zeven Adamcik is a Special Olympics athlete, playing basketball and baseball, and Special Olympics is the reason the Salisbury Township duo was about to join around 600 others in a river in February.

"We fundraise so there's no cost to our athletes or their families to compete in any of the sports or programming that we offer," said Amanda Sechrist, manager of Northampton County Special Olympics.

When the first of 13 groups of plungers stepped into the river, the air temperature was about 50 degrees with sunny skies. But the water was about 36 degrees, according to a thermometer in a nearby anglers boat, and a steady wind was gusting to about 23 mph. Firefighters from Easton watched onshore and aboard a rescue boat.

Im numb, Im very cold, but it was definitely worth it, said Brianna Groff, an employee of Lehigh Valley Polar Plunge sponsor Wawa, as she raced for her towel.

It was awesome, said 25th Street Wawa worker Joshua Shutt. Way colder than I thought. Definitely was not ready for that.

The local plunges first seven years raised about $640,000, an organizer said. Saturdays event raised an additional $100,000. Participants needed to contribute at least $50, although they can accept pledges online through the end of February. Super plungers had to raise $500 apiece for the right to jump every hour for 24 hours into the indoor pool around the corner at Grand Eastonian Hotel & Suites.

"Team Quack Attack!" members Karissa Hensel, Amanda Haese and Patti Shane were among those who jumped all night into the pool then into the river on Saturday. All three are special education teachers at Middle Smithfield Elementary School through Colonial Intermediate Unit 20.

"I think this was the coldest one," said Hensel, a veteran plunger. "I was expecting it to be cold but I think it was a little colder than I anticipated."

"Very chilly but refreshing," Shane said.

Special Olympics is marking its 50th year in 2020 providing year-round training and activities for children and adults with intellectual and physical disabilities.

"Abilities outweigh disabilities" was the theme of an Easton Area School District team that included special education administrator Elizabeth Brill and high school senior Samantha Kessler.

"The reason why we are doing this is to support our students with special needs," said plunger Tracie Stump, a special education teacher at Shawnee Elementary School in Forks Township. "We feel that as a community and as teachers and students of the Easton Area School District, that it is our responsibility to really support our athletes."

Employees of Avantor in Lopatcong Township with United Steel Workers Local 10-00729 came out for the plunge wearing matching Steel Force Chillers black-hooded sweatshirts. It wasnt the first plunge for local President Tim Sutter.

The minute I said yes, Id do this, I started thinking back to 2016 and how painful it actually is to go in that water, he said. But its for a good cause.

Kurt Bresswein may be reached at kbresswein@lehighvalleylive.com. Follow him on Twitter @KurtBresswein and Facebook. Find lehighvalleylive.com on Facebook.

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Over 600 take the Delaware River plunge to benefit Special Olympics (PHOTOS) - lehighvalleylive.com

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