Date published: May 9, 2011
Walt Whitman once said, "Charity and personal force are the only investments worth anything." Some students at North Carolina State University know a little something about both, as indicated by their willingness to plunge into the freezing cold temperatures of Lake Raleigh in order to raise funds for the Special Olympics.
The charitable endeavor was part of the annual Torch Run 5K and Polar Plunge, which took place at the Centennial Campus and was sponsored by the Campus Police.
All of the proceeds from the event were donated to the Special Olympics of North Carolina (SONC), whose mission is "to provide sports training and athletic competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities."
Doctoral student Kathleen Burchardt touts the event as a wonderful opportunity to give back to the community. She even recruited 10 other students to join her. Called Team Naked Asci, the group even raised nearly $2,000 to contribute to the fundraiser prior to the event.
"I thought the event would be a lot of fun and it is for a really good cause. I am interested in raising money for SONC because my younger brother is autistic, and I know the organization does a lot for families with special needs individuals," Burchardt told NCSU Student Media.
While all members of Team Naked Asci participated in the run, only two brave souls took part in the plunge: Kestrel Lannon and Katie Neufeld.
Neufeld explains her decision to participate in the freezing adventure. "I saw a polar plunge when I was younger and thought the people were crazy. However, I saw an advertisement for the plunge and thought it would be fun."
In addition to the satisfaction of braving such a challenge, Neufeld contends that the greatest satisfaction is contributing to the community.
"It is very rewarding to know how much your fundraising efforts are appreciated by the Special Olympics athletes and their families," said Neufeld. "The Special Olympics provides a place for young children to feel accepted and gives them opportunities they may not have had otherwise."