I'm naturally a cold person. Andrea and I have a space heater under the desk that we run year round (yes, even in the summer). I sometimes get self conscious when I shake peoples' hands because I usually get the response, "Oh my! Your hands are so cold!"

Yes...I know.

But there are some times when getting cold is totally worth it...even if you're naturally cold all the time. Take last weekend for example with Rockford's Polar Plunge event. Last Saturday, more than 500 participants took the plunge in Olson Lake at Rock Cut State Park and raised money for the Special Olympics Illinois. Collectively, the participants have raised more than $70,000! Wow!

My boyfriend was one of those brave people who faced the frigid waters and took the plunge last weekend. I got to see first hand how he went from raising money, to the icy plunge itself (which he said was actually not that bad...once your body gets over the initial shock of the water).

bryan polar plunge 2016
(My boyfriend is the one on the right about to gracefully flop into the water)

I love how Rockford holds one of Illinois' many Polar Plunges each year. The Speclai Olympics is a great cause, and Rockford is really good about raising money for it. I've been told that Rockford has raised as much (if not more) than Chicago! This just shows how generous Rockfordians are, and the dedication our citizens have for great causes.

Take a look at these photos the very talented Tyler Yomantas took during the Polar Plunge at Olson Lake on March 5, 2016. And if you would like to make a donation to the Special Olympics Illinois, they are taking donations until April 29!

polar plunge blog 1
Stan Gillenwater dances with the Rockford IceHogs "Hammy" prior to taking the plunge

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Laura Stein of the team "Sam's Club" talks to her teammates

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Melena Travezo, 10, waits in line to register

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Mark Callison of the Dixon Fire Department raises his helmet during the National Anthem

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Lisa Leombruni of the Rockford Park District Police charges into the water

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Liza Guenzler takes the plunge

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Members of the Knights of Columbus run out of the frigid waters

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Mike and Kim Peavy of team "Freezin' Our Tails Off" swing their hats around as they run out of the frigid waters

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Daniel Simmons, 16, of Guilford High School's team runs out after taking the plunge

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Ericka Guenzler gives her closing speech at the annual Special Olympics Polar Plunge


tyler yomantasTyler Yomantas is a photographer that specializes in capturing the moments and beauty of the Rock River Valley, with over 6 years experience in his field. He enjoys bicycling around Rockford and capturing the amazing sights and moments. He is also a student at Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design.