Freezin’ for a reason: Unity House Plungers raise more than $2,900 for Special Olympics

Saturday’s freezing temperatures didn’t stop the Unity House Plungers team from participating in the Ithaca Polar Plunge at Taughannock Falls State Park.

The team took to the 36 degree frigid water of Cayuga Lake in Trumansburg on March 23.

19 Unity House staff members raised more than $2,900 for Special Olympics New York, the third highest amount raised by Community Division teams.

The event raised over $83,500 total to support athletes with disabilities.

Unity House’s top fundraiser was West Lake Road IRA’s Program Manager Nick White, who raised over $400, in part thanks to cashing in on a “Change Jar Challenge” for his peer-to-peer fundraising page.

“Special thanks to Mary Simpson, James Beaumont and Michelle Stage for their hard work in coordinating this year’s event. Shoutout to Chris Teller, our PROS Employment Specialist, who drew this year’s shirt design,” Unity House said in an all-staff newsletter.

Special Olympics New York provides inclusive opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities to discover and unleash the champion within.

This year was the 11th annual event for the Ithaca area, and hundreds of people participated to raise funds to support more than 68,000 New York State athletes with disabilities.

According to, all of the money raised through the Polar Plunge helps provide “year-round sports training and competition as well as leadership, health and inclusion programs for individuals with intellectual disabilities in your community.”