- Associated Press - Monday, January 25, 2016

BRIGHTON, Mich. (AP) - It’s time to grab your swimsuit and jump into Leith Lake in the freezing cold temperatures.

Most would think those people are crazy, but not Livingston County folks.

The 11th annual Polar Plunge in Livingston County is coming at noon Jan. 30 at Leith Lake behind Brighton High School, 7878 Brighton Road in Brighton. Several people raise money for Livingston County Special Olympics during the month of January prior to groups of people jumping into the lake in a temporary loss of wisdom.

The annual event is important to many in the community, including the Pinckney Community High School varsity swim and dive team.

Last year, the men’s team participated in the Polar Plunge for the first time in honor of a teammate who had special needs.

“We thought it would be good for our teammate as a senior send-off, so we participated for him and ended up raising about $7,600,” said Ross Richards, Pinckney swim and dive team captain. “It was a great time, and we all decided to keep participating.”

The team was excited to help out again this year.

“It’s for a great cause and the money goes straight back into the community, so I think the swim team will continue this in years to come,” Richards told the Livingston Daily Press & Argus (https://bit.ly/1lsj5te ).

This year, the team plans on raising at least $10,000.

They may be exceeding their goal because they have already made almost half of that.

“We’ve raised $4,200, so we are looking forward to seeing the end result,” he said. “We really appreciate everyone who has donated so far.”

The team was “very cold” last year and anticipates the lake being just as cold this year.

“More than anything, I believe this event is great to raise awareness about Special Olympics,” Richards said. “I don’t think a lot of people really know what Special Olympics offers or how it helps those who have intellectual disabilities.”

The team’s fundraising page is at www.firstgiving.com/team/310450.

“We are looking forward to seeing everyone,” Richards said.

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Information from: Livingston Daily Press & Argus, https://www.livingstondaily.com

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