Too Chicken to Plunge? Not This Year
Sister-brother duo, Dawn and Bryan McMillan, have been major supporters of Polar Plunge. Bryan McMillan, a member of Kingston Police, has been involved with Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR) for the past four years, organizing not only the Polar Plunge but many other Special Olympics fundraisers along the way. Dawn, a Special Olympics Ontario (SOO) athlete of over 25 years, has always put her mind to lending a hand in support of local causes. Together, the duo makes quite the strong pairing when it comes to fundraising!
The past four Polar Plunges, Dawn has attended but not exactly plunged. Instead, she has dressed as “too chicken to plunge” and helped collect donations during the event. However, this year, the plunge looked a little different for Dawn. “With this year’s ‘Virtual Polar Plunge,’ it allowed our plungers to be creative and not have to jump into Lake Ontario to be part of the plunge,” said Bryan. With that in mind, Dawn and Bryan took up not one, but two creative plunges!
The first plunge being with their local radio station, Kingston’s Move 98.3, hosted by Reid and Ben. Bryan and Dawn had planned on challenging Reid and Ben to a friendly competition on which duo could raise the most funds and create the best video. “In typical Reid and Ben fashion, they quickly came up with an idea to help only Dawn raise the money,” admits Bryan. “They challenged the Kingston community to help Dawn’s total get to $10,000, which would mean the 3 of us, Reid, Ben and I, would get sprayed by Kingston Fire and Rescue for our 2021 Polar Plunge,” adds Bryan. Well, Dawn surpassed her $10,000 goal within two weeks! “I guess the community really wanted to see the three of us suffer a little bit!”
The second plunge was with Kingston Police, one that both Dawn and Bryan participated in. Bryan noted that “Dawn was always reluctant to jump into the lake for many reasons, but climbing into a horse trough full of freezing cold water and ice, was something she was willing to do, especially if I got in there with her.” Dawn was not “too chicken to plunge” this year!
Raising upwards of $16,000 is a huge feat however, raising awareness is just as admirable. “We have never focused on the amount of money that is raised, but awareness is very important,” said Bryan. With the immense push they achieved this year, Dawn and Bryan were able to get over 130 people to donate and learn about SOO. Within this reach, three local high schools participated in a ‘non-uniform’ day wearing red and white in support of Special Olympics. “We educated over 2000 students about SOO, how they could volunteer, and also give back 75% of what they raised within their schools back to their SOO teams.” Bryan also expressed that “to Dawn and I, this means way more than any funds raised.”
The opportunities Dawn has had because of SOO mean the world to Bryan. “She has learned how to be independent, confident in who she is, live a healthy and active lifestyle through sport, and meet lifelong friends who also have an intellectual disability,” added Bryan. Without SOO and the funds raised by LETR and Polar Plunge, Dawn would not have had these opportunities. “So, for this, we say THANK YOU!”