Teri’s Notebook: Special Olympian looking for Polar Plunge donations
Hannah Fitch, 17, plans to take the plunge into the frigid waters of Lake Tahoe in a couple of weeks to not only see her own dreams come true, but to help others to have the same kinds of experiences she’s been able to enjoy. Hannah, who goes by “Bear,” has competed in the Special Olympics for about four years. She’s raising money for the organization by participating in this year’s Polar Plunge on March 18 at Zephyr Cove in South Lake Tahoe.
“I had a difficult time in the beginning, but soon I got used to being cheered for and having fun with others,” the Carson City teen wrote in her profile. “I know times get tough for many people, I had hard times, too. So now I’m going to raise money for the plunge to help more people join and have more sports.”
Hannah and her mother, Vanessa Luke, are both plunging.
Bear competes in swimming, softball and bowling, with plans to add flag football to her roster. She has currently raised $25 for the Polar Plunge, but would like to increase that to $200. However, it’s not just for herself.
“I hope to raise more than $100 because I wish to become a coach one day,” she said. “I really love helping everyone, and I can’t wait for this year’s plunge!”
The South Lake Tahoe Polar Plunge is one of three scheduled in Nevada, the other two in Elko and Las Vegas. Participants are invited to “hop, skip or run your way into chilly waters along with hundreds of other brave souls who will grin and bear it for the amazing Special Olympics athletes of Nevada!”
People who prefer to stay dry and relatively warm can register as a “chicken” and are allowed to participate in all of the day’s festivities without having to jump in the water. Proceeds go to Special Olympics of California and Nevada.
“We pride ourselves on offering a wide variety of services to our athletes. Our sports training and competition opportunities provide athletes of all ability levels the chance to play and be part of a team,” Special Olympics of Nevada explains on its website. “Skills like being a good teammate, winning with grace, and encouraging others are all skills that carry over into their everyday lives. Through sports, we are bringing special-education students and general-education students on the same playing field, promoting acceptance and respect for all.”
To donate to Hannah, go to specialolympics.donordrive.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=donorDrive.participant&participantID=2476.
Teri Vance is a journalist, freelance writer and native Nevadan. Contact her with column ideas at email@example.com.