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Dunleavy’s 27th Annual Polar Plunge brings thousands to Sullivan’s Island

Published: Jan. 1, 2022 at 5:57 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 2, 2022 at 9:01 AM EST
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SULLIVAN’S ISLAND, S.C. (WCSC) - After being canceled last year because of COVID… Dunleavy’s Polar Plunge returned to Sullivan’s Island on New Year’s Day.

Thousands of people came out for the yearly tradition of jumping in the cold water to raise money for the Special Olympics.

Bill Dunleavy, the owner of Dunleavy’s Pub, says it was the best year they’ve ever had.

“Next year will be our 28th year doing this, and it just keeps growing,” Dunleavy says. “Everybody has fun.”

All the money raised goes directly to Special Olympics athletes.

Sandye Williams, the development director for Special Olympics South Carolina, says the state has one of the biggest programs in the country, and they support 30,000 athletes around the state.

This year they’re sending a delegation of 200 to represent South Carolina in Orlando at the USA games.

“It’s a wonderful way to start the year off,” Williams says. “Everybody out here having fun and freezin’ for a reason, as we like to say.”

This is the first year Chelsea McAneney is participating in the plunge.

“It’s crazy, but I love it,” McAneney says. “It’s so nice out today. It’s almost 80 degrees. I’m super excited to get in.”

Harry Shuman says he’s been doing this polar plunge for 22 years.

“Feels good being back out here,” Shuman says. “Missed out last year, but I’m glad it’s back.”

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