New River Valley raises thousands for Special Olympics - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

New River Valley raises thousands for Special Olympics

A lot goes through your mind before you run into the 34 degree water of the New River.

"The thought is getting out and getting changed and dry," says Megan Beckett.

"Oh my gosh what are we getting into," says Frank Fitzgerald.

For these folks the biggest thing on their mind is helping the special Olympic athletes. Emily Hite not only put the event together, but plunged into the cold waters. 

"It helps them with their sports all year long. It goes to special Olympics of Virginia so it goes to the athletes so we like to do a community event here locally so athletes can get more programs and sponsorships," says Hite.

In its first year four years ago they raised 8 thousand dollars. This year was record breaking. More than 375 people braved the cold weather to raise about 30 thousand dollars.

"We have people from tech, Blacksburg, Christainsburg, Radford, churches, everyone in community and that is what we want," says Hite.

"Do something for a good cause and everybody enjoys it, it is something we look forward to all year," says John Rudd, who braved the cold waters.

The Chill Billies raised the most money of any group; close to 8,000 dollars. Most of them have done this before, but Megan Beckett jumped in for the first time.

"Wasn't as cold as I thought because it think I was already frozen, it was so bad," says Beckett.

And if braving the cold waters for a few seconds makes a difference in the community, folks say it is well worth it; and will continue to come out year after year.

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