Daemen Makes Big Splash at Polar Plunge

By | December 6, 2023

Members of the Daemen University community participate in the 17th annual Polar PlungeFor the third consecutive year, Daemen University was the top college fundraiser for the Buffalo Polar Plunge, raising $13,587 for local athletes.

The 17th annual event was held at Woodlawn State Park on Saturday afternoon, with more than 1,000 people braving a cold Lake Erie to support Special Olympics New York. The organization provides inclusive opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities who compete in Olympic-style, coached sports.

Organized by Dr. Colleen Wilkinson, an assistant professor in the Education Department, nearly 30 members of the Daemen community took part in the Polar Plunge. The team more than doubled last year’s total funds raised.

First-year student Ava Johnston participated in the 17th annual Polar PlungeAva Johnston, a first-year student in the Physician Assistant Program, raised $7,110 on her own – making her the third-highest individual fundraiser for the entire event.

“I started doing the Polar Plunge last year for my high school, and I’ve made it a goal to continue participating every year,” Johnston said. “I have a special needs cousin, so it means a lot for me to be involved with this organization and to help raise money for the athletes so they have the opportunity to be involved in sports.”

The Buffalo Polar Plunge is the largest in New York state.