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About the Plunge

Learn all the details about the Law Enforcement Torch Run Polar Plunge for Special Olympics Illinois.

Special Olympics Illinois Mission & Vision

Special Olympics Illinois provides year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, as well as in health education, leadership and personal development.

Building a World of Inclusion

Special Olympics Illinois strives to be a global leader in shaping a culture where people with and without intellectual disabilities are fully integrated into the community.

Learn More

What’s the Impact?

You are making a SPLASH across the state of Illinois to support those with intellectual disabilities. Here’s what you’re supporting.


A community of athletes, coaches, volunteers, and more.


is what it takes to send an athlete to a competition.


Competitions are held
each year in Illinois.

How to Make a Splash

Take the Plunge

SHOW OFF by braving the cold and taking an icy dip yourself



The COOLEST folks are out there making the events happen



Be a SUPER CHILL partner and help support the event

Email the Polar Plunge

Polar Plunge History

Frequently Asked Questions

Event Questions & Answers

What is the Polar Plunge?

The Illinois Law Enforcement Torch Run Polar Plunge is a unique opportunity for individuals, organizations, and businesses to support Special Olympics athletes by taking icy dips into Illinois waters. In 2024, the Illinois Law Enforcement Torch Run and Special Olympics Illinois will be hosting Polar Plunges across the state as well as having participants choose to Create Your Plunge. 

How old do you have to be to Plunge?

There is no age requirement to participate in the Polar Plunge. Young children are welcome to participate, but that decision is left to the sole discretion of the child’s parent or guardian. For individuals under the age of 18, a parent or guardian must agree to the Terms and Conditions during the online registration process and/or sign the event participant waiver.

What incentives are available to participants who raise more than the minimum $100?

Incentives will be available for Plungers at the at the $250, $500, $1,000, $2,500, and $5,000 fundraising thresholds. You can see the options when available on the Plunger Incentives page.

Are the Polar Plunge incentives or sweatshirts available for purchase?

We do not sell any of our Polar Plunge incentives because we feel it is a privilege for those who participate and have earned the various incentive levels.

What is your refund policy?

Donations made to the Polar Plunge are charitable contributions and nonrefundable.

When and how will I receive my sweatshirt?

All traditional Polar Plungers who have reached their $100 fundraising minimum by the time they attend their traditional Polar Plunge will receive their 2024 Polar Plunge sweatshirt at the Special Olympics Illinois-hosted event. Please note, if your minimum is not reached prior to the event, sweatshirt sizes available onsite are only available while supplies last. Create Your Own Plunge participants will receive their sweatshirts via the mail in late April as long as submit their $100 minimum to Special Olympics Illinois by March 28, 2024.

How do I submit offline donations?

  • For cash donations under $100, plungers should deposit the cash into their bank account and make a donation via their Donor Drive fundraising page.
  • For cash donations over $100, plungers should exchange donations into a money order or cashier check. Then complete this Offline Donation Submission Form and mail it along with the money order to the address below. Ensure you include complete donor information so that a tax letter can be sent to your donor.
  • Check donations should be mailed along with a completed Offline Donation Submission Form to the address below:

Mail offline donations to:

Special Olympics Illinois
Attn: Polar Plunge
605 East Willow St.
Normal, IL 61761

I have a donor who wants to write a check. Who should they make it payable to?

All checks should be made payable to Special Olympics Illinois. Donations of $100 or more with complete donor information will receive a tax letter from Special Olympics Illinois.

I have a group of people that want to Plunge together. Can we form a team?

Yes! Forming a team is a great way to motivate one another to raise more money for Special Olympics Illinois. When registering, select the “Create a Team” option.

Can my team still plunge together?

Teams can plunge together at one of our traditional Plunge events or Create Your Own Plunge.

Participant Account Questions & Answers

Do all team members’ need to register online?

Yes. All plungers must register online. Individuals under the age of 18 must have a parent or guardian with them when they register as they must agree to our Terms and Conditions and/or sign and return the event participant waiver prior to plunging. If you are unable to register online, please contact your local Plunge Director for offline registration options.

I accidentally registered twice. What should I do?

In order to properly track your online donations, it is best that you only have one online registration record per Plunge location.  If you accidentally registered twice, contact your Plunge Director or email  Please include your Plunge location, the two email addresses you registered under and which of those accounts you would like to keep. We will take care of the issue and email you back once the correction has been made.

Can team members share an online donation?

Donations made online cannot be split between team members.

How do I find my friend’s Plunge page to make a donation?

You can search for Plungers by utilizing our Donate page feature.

Will I be able to see pictures from the Plunge online after the event?

Yes! Pictures and videos received from Plungers will be available from our Special Olympics Illinois Flickr account.

I don’t want to use the online fundraising program. Can I still participate?

Yes! While we encourage you to register online, but individuals are able to collect donations offline by utilizing this Offline Donation Submission Form. This form along with a minimum of $100 in donations must be received in person on the day of your Polar Plunge. You will be asked to complete a waiver and other registration paperwork onsite as well.

Offline registration paperwork, waiver and donations should be mailed to:

Special Olympics Illinois
Attn: Polar Plunge/ participant’s name
605 East Willow St.
Normal, IL 61761

If mailing donations, make sure to exchange all cash into a money order.  Also, make sure to complete and include an Offline Donation Submission Form so we can be sure to credit your efforts correctly.  Any questions please contact your Plunge Director or email

Donation & Fundraising Questions & Answers

Who should checks be written out to?

Checks can be written out to Special Olympics Illinois.

Are donations tax deductible?

Yes! Our tax ID/EIN number is 36-2922811.

Where do I send offline donations?

If you are registered online but would like to submit offline donations, you can send those to: 

Special Olympics Illinois
Attn: Matching Gifts
605 East Willow St.
Normal, IL 61761

Please note, you MUST include your name and Plunge location to be guaranteed the donation is added to your Polar Plunge fundraising page. 

If you are not registered online, all donations should be turned in onsite at your chosen Polar Plunge location, as you will be asked to complete a waiver and other registration paperwork onsite as well.

How do I track my offline donations?

We have created an Offline Donation Submission Form to help you track your cash and check donations. Don’t forget to record all your donor information (name, address, city, state, zip) so that we can issue a tax letter.

My company offers matching gifts. How does that work towards my total?

Matching gifts are a great way to raise additional funds for your Polar Plunge. As long as we receive the matching gift paperwork BEFORE the donation deadline (March 28, 2024), you will receive credit for the donation towards your fundraising total and incentive levels.

Follow the steps below to see if your gift is eligible for a matching gift:

  • Check our matching gift page to see if your company matches gifts to Special Olympics Illinois and review the guidelines. If you don’t see your company listed, reach out to your Human Resources office to see if they offer a matching gift program.
  • Donate online, by check or cash and make sure to get a gift receipt as proof of your donation. Individuals can donate to the Polar Plunge here.
  • There are two common ways to submit the matching gift request:
    • Click on your company’s intranet link provided in the search results on our page. Log-in and submit your request electronically.
    • Download your company’s matching gift verification form using the link provided in the search results. Print it, fill it out and send it to us at:

Special Olympics Illinois
Attn: Matching Gifts
605 East Willow St.
Normal, IL 61761

*For assistance with online matching, email us at

Will my supporters automatically receive a receipt or do I need to request one?

Special Olympics Illinois automatically generates receipts for anyone who contributes $100 or more by check, money order, or cash and for whom we have complete and accurate contact information (name and mailing address). You can track and submit your offline donor information by using this Offline Donation Submission Form. All donations that are made online via credit card automatically receive a donation receipt via email for any amount.  For offline donations that are less than $100, please provide one yourself by using our downloadable Donor Receipts Form.

Can I utilize social media or other fundraising platforms to raise funds towards my Plunge efforts?

Yes! Be sure to utilize our Participant Social Toolkit or Super Plunge Participant Toolkit. Please note, all online fundraising should be done through the provided Fundraising Page created during the registration process. *Funds raised through third-party pages (Go Fund Me, Facebook Donations, etc.) cannot be credited towards your fundraising efforts* due to a lack of information provided by those companies when distributing funds raised.

I can’t collect all my donations before the Polar Plunge. What do I do?

As long as you have the minimum $100 by the time of the Plunge, you’ll be able to Plunge with us.  Any donations received by March 28, 2024 will be applied to your fundraising efforts and go towards receiving your Plunge Incentives.  To submit donations after the event please complete this For offline donations that are less than $100, please provide one yourself by using our downloadable Donor Receipts Form and mail items to:

Special Olympics Illinois
Attn: Polar Plunge
605 East Willow St.
Normal, IL 61761

Polar Plunge Safety Policy

Please be safe with your Create Your Own Plunge choices. Special Olympics Illinois is not responsible for any injuries that occur while participating in the Create Your Own Plunge option.

Those choosing to Create Your Own Plunge are encouraged to be safe with their Create Your Own Plunge choices. Special Olympics Illinois utilizes a professional dive team in the water and emergency responders to ensure the safety of our participants at traditional Polar Plunges. Do not attempt to jump into a lake, river, or any other open body of water for the Create Your Own Plunge. Participants should not do anything that could physically harm themselves or others. Special Olympics Illinois is not responsible for any injuries that occur while participating in the Create Your Own Plunge.

Special Olympics Accreditation

Special Olympics Illinois is the only entity in Illinois accredited by Special Olympics, Inc. and authorized by license to use the Polar Plunge® trademark and logo. Any issues or liabilities arising from Chicago Polar Plunge are the sole responsibility of Special Children’s Charities. Please feel free to contact Special Olympics Illinois via with any questions.