Freezing swim in Natick is a ‘Passion Plunge’ for Special Olympics

NATICK, MASS. (WHDH) - Dozens of people took an icy swim in Natick Saturday to raise money for the Special Olympics.

The annual “Passion Plunge” helps thousands of Special Olympics athletes across the state compete free of charge. For more than a decade, American Veterans of Massachusetts has put on the event — with some strict rules about participation.

“Once you do it, you become our family — we don’t let you not go in again,” said AMVETS member Wayne Athony.

“We don’t aggravate, we don’t torture, we just drag you in again,” laughed AMVETS member Timothy Eaton.

But participants said they would be plunging anyway.

“This is my eighth year doing it. I have a cousin that is part of the Special Olympics and it’s just such an amazing cause,” said Ashley LaBarre.

“These people are very brave,” said Meghan O’Neil, fundraising and events coordinator for the Special Olympics. “I say this is the coldest plunge of all.”

The plunge raised $23,000 this year, organizers said.

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