PHOTOS: Red Bell Run hosts Polar Plunge to benefit Special Olympics

Published 12:39 pm Monday, February 26, 2024

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POLK COUNTY—A Polar Plunge was held at The Sanctuary at Red Bell Run on Friday, February 23, to raise funds for the Special Olympics. Despite a light rain, participants from Polk County Middle School and Polk County High School, as well as members of the Sheriff’s Department and School Administration, plunged into the cold waters to raise funds for nearly 40,000 Special Olympics athletes in the state. 

Reeve Carroll, an 8th-grader who took the plunge, said, “It was very cold, didn’t think it was going to be quite that cold, but I was glad to do it for such a good cause.” 

The fundraiser was made possible largely thanks to 14-year-old Ciera Weathers, who reached out to Mary Adams at Red Bell Run to host the event. 

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“She and her fellow students came up with the idea for the Polar Plunge as a way to raise money for the Special Olympics,” Ciera’s mother, Jamie Weathers said. “Ciera has volunteered at Red Bell for the last two years. She was the one that reached out to Mary Adams at Red Bell Run about hosting the fundraiser, and Mary was immediately on board.”

Adams, the owner of Red Bell Run, was delighted to help Ciera. 

“Special needs equines and special needs children couldn’t be a better fit,” she said. “The polar plunge was a lot of fun for everyone, with the children getting the opportunity to take tours and meet the horses before the event.” 

The Sanctuary at Red Bell Run, located at 385 Blackwood Rd. in Columbus, is a home for rescued and special needs equines, and the organization works hard to give each horse, mule or donkey the care that it lacked before coming to the farm. 

Participants who registered to participate in the event received the 2024 Polar Plunge t-shirt, and every dollar raised went to help support Special Olympics athletes in Polk County. 

Jane Ollis, Special Olympics coordinator for Polk County, and her husband Bruce both took the plunge, and they were thankful for all the support they received from everyone who attended, especially the schools and the Sanctuary at Red Bell Run.