Special Olympian shows what’s possible at Plunge

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Aimee Gilchrist was nervous before running into Georgian Bay on a cold but sunny April Fool's Day – one of about 30 people who donned costumes silly or not and jumped into the bay for the 18th annual Polar Plunge for Special Olympicss.

But the 38-year-old Owen Sound Special Olympian emerged declaring the water wasn't that cold and she'd be back to do it again next year by the Harry Lumley-Bayshore Community Centre shoreline.

She was also the top pledge-earner of the day, at $1,820, raised by donations generally of $2 to $5 from individuals she approached. It earned her a round-trip airline ticket to anywhere in the United States.

With her teammates, Jana Waghorn, chair of the Owen Sound Police Polar Plunge Committee, and Crystal Erwin, both city police employees, they raised $3,500.

Gilchrist got into the spirit of the thing by painting her face and hair pink. With her hair arranged like an upside down snow cone on her head, her blue dress and pink pants, she looked like one of the dolls in the Trolls cartoon, which was her aim.

Some of her Special Olympics medals were displayed on a table, where her mother and grandmother spoke admiringly about her.

“I think it's wonderful. I'm very proud of her. We all are,” Gilchrist's grandmother, Tillie, said. “And actually, the money that she raised, 75 per cent of it, stays in our community,” her mother, Dorothy said. She told her daughter don't do it. But after a medical checkup, she told her mom she's doing it.

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