Taking the Plunge for the Special Olympics

By Lorne Fultonberg

December 2, 2012 Updated Dec 2, 2012 at 12:40 AM EDT

Whitney Point, NY (WBNG Binghamton) -- More than 80 people jumped into a freezing cold lake Saturday to raise money for the Special Olympics.

Participants came in costume and even face paint for their quick dip into Lake Whitney Point's 37-degree waters. Friends and family cheered them on from the sidelines.

"It's something I've always wanted to do," said Marc Broder, one of the participants, "it's for a great cause to support the Special Olympics of New York and there's nothing better than seeing someone achieve their goals so I just wanted to help out."

The event raised more than $15,500 for Special Olympians. It costs $400 to sponsor one Olympian. New York State has nearly 56,000 athletes, more than any other state.

The entire event exceeded expectations, said Special Olympics New York Development Specialist Erin McCartan, adding it will definitely become an annual event.

The Broome County Plunge is one of 14 across the state. Last year's events raised a combined total of more than $1 million.