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Special Olympics Michigan hosts Super Polar Plunge to raise money

Special Olympics Michigan is hoping to raise more than $1 million this year at events across the state.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A group of brave people jumped into a frozen pool in a Kent County parking lot Friday night.

And it was all for a good cause.

Special Olympics Michigan does the polar plunge every year, but this is the first in person plunge in two years after having to go virtual in 2021.

"The biggest fundraiser of the year for Special Olympics Michigan," says Lourin Sprenger with SOMI. "We're trying to raise $1 million this year."

And for the first time ever, it wasn't just a polar plunge. It was a Super Polar Plunge, with jumpers hitting the water once an hour for a full day.

"24 jumps in 24 hours," says Sprenger.

RELATED: Special Olympics athletes hit the rink against Ferris State's hockey team

Two of those jumpers were Max Hinga and Mariah Huhta.

The two are unified partners, participating in Special Olympics events together.

"It's just the most inclusive environment you can think of," says Huhta. "We have so much fun together."

Hinga got involved with Special Olympics in high school, starting his own unified team, which he says made a difference at the school.

"It's helped decrease a lot of bullying and bring more inclusion," says Hinga.

And in his own life as well.

"It's helped me be a more outgoing person and be able to be better at public speaking than I was before," says Hinga.

Which is why they decided to take the plunge and encourage others to donate to Special Olympics as well.

"If you're willing to do that, you can do anything," says Huhta.

This year, there are more than 30 polar plunges for Special Olympics across the state. You can find a list of events, or just make a donation from warm at home, by clicking here.

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