Thousands brave frigid Lake Michigan for 2024 Chicago Polar Plunge

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Sunday, March 3, 2024
2024 Chicago Polar Plunge raises $2M for Special Olympics
Thousands braved the frigid Lake Michigan at North Avenue Beach Sunday for the Chicago Polar Plunge 2024, raising money for Special Olympics Chicago.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- One wave at a time thousands of Chicagoans braved frigid water during the 24th Chicago Polar Plunge benefiting Special Olympics Chicago on a gorgeous March day.

"I'm not going to lie, it was warm," Polar Plunge Jumper Kathryn Trnka. "But honestly, we're prepared for anything. This is such an important cause."

More than 5,200 people hit North Avenue Beach and took an icy dip on Sunday. The most people ever to attend the plunge, organizers said.

Over $2 million was raised just this year alone.

"Besides the fact that it's an incredible fundraising event, it is one day to get absolutely crazy and silly and bring everybody together," Polar Plunge Jumper Rebecca Dumcum said.

All of the fund collected from the Chicago Polar Plunge stay in the city. The money pays for athlete transportation, uniforms, gear and much more.

"I feel good! I feel like I'm ready to do this," Special Olympics Chicago Athlete Carter Sanders said.

Sanders loves all sports, and it's his third time taking the plunge.

"It feels like your adrenaline is pumping as you're running into the water and you're plunging for a good cause," Sanders said.

More than 5,200 people registered for the 24th annual Chicago Polar Plunge!

Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson jumping in for the very first time, in full business attire.

"The water was fresh and nice and cold, but the spirit of Chicago, the soul of Chicago - our heart beats to a nice warmth," Johnson said.

To learn more about the organization, head to