Brrr! Polar Plunge helps Special Olympics Texas athletes

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Brrr! Polar Plunge helps Special Olympics Texas athletes (KTRK)

In 1963, Eunice Kennedy Shriver started a summer day camp for intellectually challenged children and in 1968 she hosted the First International Special Olympics Summer Games.

One year after the first games, the Special Olympics made its way to Texas.

Now over 40 years later, Special Olympics Texas (SOTX) provides year round training and competitions for more than 58,300 children and adults with intellectual disabilities across the state and over 9,000 athletes in the Greater Houston Area.

Throughout the year, SOTX host many fundraisers to help cover the cost of events and athletes.

Saturday morning, Houstonians were "Freezin for a Reason" at Main Street America.

The Polar Plunge is an event where people dress in costumes and dive into ice cold water to help raise money and awareness for Special Olympics athletes.

This was the first time the Polar Plunge took place in the summertime. Accent Outdoors donated the pool and Boeker Humble Ice donated 4,000 pound of ice to make sure the event went perfectly.

Misty Dowdell, a Sergeant with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, took the plunge for someone close to her heart. Her son Frankie Dowdell was born with Cytmegalovirus and died from complications at the age of 14.

She dressed up in a frog costume because that was Frankie's favorite animal, and is also an acronym the Dowdell family lives by.

"F.R.O.G stands for 'Forever Relying On God,' everybody in my family has tattoos in memory of him," said Dowdell.

Throughout the event people jumped for loved ones and some did it just for a great cause.

Riane Deaton is a Special Olympics athlete who plays over 20 different sports. While she didn't participate in the plunge, she is grateful for those who did.

"I thank all them who came today, it's meant a lot to us," said Deaton.

While the event only lasted a couple of hours, the effect was everlasting.

"What we've raised thus far, online, plus today, plus sponsorship's, guess how much, we've raised $3,750," said development director for Law Enforcement Torch Run Alejandra Lima.

That money will sponsor 25 athletes with intellectual disabilities to get one year's worth of training and competition, health and inclusion programs paid.

RELTED: PHOTOS: 2016 Polar Plunge benefitting Special Olympics Texas

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Related Topics:
societyspecial olympicsspecial needs childrenfeel goodfundraiserbuzzworthyHouston
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