The Harnisch Family

The Harnisch Family

Feb 18, 2012

The Polar Plunge!

She did it.  Aunt Keri actually took the plunge!  Today was amazing.  Clear blue skies set the scene.  Sure, it was cold, but was an overall clear and gorgeous February day - what more could you ask for?  As we arrived at Lake Cunningham we were shocked at the amount of vehicles.  Cars upon cars lined miles of hilly winding roads that circled the iced-over lake.  THERE WAS NO WHERE LEFT FOR US TO PARK!  This, of course, is not necessarily a terrible problem to have when arriving at a charity/fundraising event.  Afterall, the most important thing is for people to show up.  AND SHOW UP THEY DID!  Wowza! 
Special Olympics NE did this one up big  :)
I got choked up at the thought of hundreds of people showing up to support this awesome cause.  Little did I know at that point that there were more like thousands of people just around the bend.

The 2012 Polar Plunge was a HUGE success and very well attended.  Over 600 people jumped in the frigid water.  Thousands of spectators served as "Fans in the Stands".  This honestly leaves me at a loss for words.  Not only did people show up, but their money talked as well.  An astounding $96,760 was confirmed at 12noon...but this total continues to climb with donations still coming in.
Go Nebraska GO!
My sister Keri exceeded her goal by over 135%, raising over $800.  Her US BANK team as a whole collected an impressive $7,000+.  Her teammate & coworker, Joe Sullivan was the OVERALL LEAD fundraiser for the 2012 SONE Polar Plunge event, raising a rockstar amount of $3,920.  Wow.  Way to go Joe!!
Joe also sits on the board for Special Olympics Nebraska.  He clearly has a passion for this organization and the people it helps.  He said it best on his "firstgiving" fundraising page (so I hope he doesn't mind if I share it with you here)    
 In Joe's words:
"I will be taking a swim in Lake Cunningham on February 18 to raise money for Special Olympics in Nebraska.  Why?  Because Special Olympics athletes are awesome!  Despite intellectual and physical setbacks they show great resolve and a fighting spirit that I am jealous of!  Through Special Olympics programs, athletes build self confidence and character, improve physical fitness, receive nutritional assistance and health screenings, and build life long friendships.  The programs Special Olympics offers unify individuals with intellectual disabilities with classmates, friends, families and communities and show us the strengths they have to offer.  Special Olympics empowers its athletes to reach their full potential and show their many gifts, not just in sporting competitions but in their home, school, work, and community.
So it's 55 degrees out as I type this which makes this not exactly "Polar." Temperatures should hopefully drop by the plunge which is February 18.  If I hit my $3,000 goal I promise to spice things up with some water aerobics and/or synchronized swim routines.  I will be in costume along with the rest of the plunge team.  The costumes are a closely guarded secret but you might expect a turn buckle or a figure four leg lock in the mix.
Thanks to all for checking this out and I really appreciate your support."

Thanks Gramma for taking our pic  :-)
Macy found, who she THINKS is her Aunt Keri
"Keri?  That is you right?"
"Yep, momma, that's her in there all right"  "told ya so".
Macy checks out the rest of Keri's team.  Here she meets her friend Joe for the first time.
The US Bank Polar Plunge team (minus a few) with MACY!
She thought they were all pretty cool!
The Yutan cold water rescue team waiting for the action to begin...brrrr.
It might be a while, so they appear to be taking a "rest?"
Grandpa Lee somehow manages to finagle himself a rockstar seat.  right up near the front!
A very newsworthy event indeed!  Gonna have to watch the KETV Ch. 7 News this evening :-)
Here was the first brave plunger
Here goes Keri's team.  Headed towards the water, the crowd cheers them on as they go down the runway.
Submerging their bodies into SUB-ZERO temps.  OUCH!
That's gotta sting just a little.
They seem to be having a good enough time as they seemed to hang out and party there for a brief moment.
I later learned that they, in fact, were not hanging out in the chin-deep water that long by choice...their capes proved to be hazardous and worked against them...As they tugged on them and actually pulled them further out almost under the ice.  yikes!  Keri lost her footing and needed some assistance on the way back up.  hehe

It's difficult to describe Keri's exact expression here, but the terms, joy, pleasure or bliss most certainly do NOT come to mind.  ha!
She managed to hear my cheers amidst the crowd and threw me a valiant wave.  atta girl  :-)
Macy gives her a high-five a few minutes later...she wouldn't let her hold her until she got all dried off.  hehe
Mom  & Keri
I snuck some pics of Grandma & Macy hanging out by the lake.
Macy gives such sweet, soft kisses these days.
I handed the camera to my mom, to try to get a couple fun shots her "framing" job.  Mom, seriously, were you even looking through the lens?  hehe
I cropped the rest of them to center them a bit more appropriately!  Macy was very tired by this point in the morning.
she was not "cooperating" and just wanted to snuggle.  :(  figures.
oh, whataface!  fine. We can go now.
But first you have to pose for a quick pic with Keri, Lyndsey & Cena,  All three of these lovely ladies donned your photo on their fundraising pages.  :-)  how sweet!
Macy says cheese.  And puts her finger up..."just one momma"!
"did ya get it yet?"
oh and before we leave, you HAVE to pose by the POLAR BEAR.  Just something you're supposed to do right? 
Now we need to work our way back through the crowd to retrieve your Grandpa who is still enjoying his front row seat to the action.
He got some great shots & lots of good video...of which I still need to weed through - I'll share those in a later post.
He wants to bring Macy down to his vantage point...sorry girl. looks like we're not leaving just yet afterall!
I love watching him watch her watch the action.
What a she is right about now.  hehe
askin' Aunt Keri all about it!

As we were leaving I ran into my friend Julie, who was at that VERY moment taking the plunge.  That's her and her daughter in the green.  :-)   She has a little guy named Henry, who also has Down Syndrome.
The girl in the pink running with them is four and was said to be the youngest plunger.  wow!  That's crazy...but as you can see, she had a good time. 
Afterwards we joined up with everyone at the Loose Moose for the big SONE Polar Plunge after party.  We hung around for a few hours and Macy had a blast.  Seriously, this kid is a fearless social butterfly!  After she finished eating, she got bored and just wandered around from table to table (totally working the room) making all sorts of new friends.  haha.  Love her  :-)

I think she was just getting her "practice" in.  As in a few weeks she is going to serve as a special "greeter" at SONE annual "Breakfast of Champions event.
She is very much looking forward to it!  (me too)
Oh - lastly - You HAVE to go to "Special Olympics Nebraska" facebook page and "like" it.
Our Little Miss Macy was chosen last week to be featured as their "Athlete of the Week".
WHAT?  OMG - that is so fun I love it!  She's two and is already an "athlete of the week"?  Well, sure why not?  she does YAP.  hehe
You'll have to wait 'til next week to see her sweet mug featured on their page.  

I'm so proud of our little girl.  But most of all.  Today.  

1 comment: