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Taking a dip in cold water...for charity

Now in its 22nd year, people are taking the plunge into the iced-in Clear Lake to raise money for Make-a-Wish and Toys for Tots as part of the Polar Bear Club

Posted: Dec 9, 2019 1:45 AM
Updated: Dec 9, 2019 9:01 AM

CLEAR LAKE, Iowa - We know winter is cold, and it's only going to get colder this week.

Now imagine jumping into a lake this time of year...probably not something you would want to do, right?

However, some brave souls made the sacrifice and took the polar plunge into Clear Lake on Sunday, and it's all for a good cause.

No matter the outfit, simple or outlandish, about 180 people jumped, walked or dove right into the icy cold water at City Beach. 

For starters, it can be a shock to the system.

"For the first year when I was a rookie, I dove in and it's another shock," Jody Trygstad, who is a part of the group from Sunset Sharkys, says.

Those who have taken part in polar plunges in the past are likely to have a certain strategy.

"You go out there, you high five all the EMT's, and you dive in on the way out."

But these brave souls are willing to dive in to make sure kids get a Christmas this year. That's because all the funds raised go to the Make-a-Wish Foundation and Toys for Tots.

"Make-a-Wish happens to be really close to my heart, so anything to help the local Make-a-Wish families. And Toys for Tots is a great organization as well. I'll freeze in the water for a little bit to raise some money for those organizations," Val Plagge, also an experienced vet at taking the plunge, says.

"It's a good cause. You've got to do something for a good cause. I enjoy doing charity work," Trygstad adds.

For thsoe that have yet to take a step in cold water, Val has some advice.

"The least amount of clothing you wear in, the better because you have less drag, less weighing you down. Your heart's already pumping enough if you're just going in your swimsuit."

"It's definitely a bucket list item. I do feel like a lot of people that do plunge have done been plunging for multiple years. It's a fun thing to do, and you get bragging rights for a whole year, saying you went into the lake in december."

Around $8,500 was raised altogether. The Eaton Belmond team had the most jumpers and raised $3,300, with this year marking the third consecutive year the team has won both trophies.

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