Be Bold, Get Cold, and Be Kind

The cold weather did not stop Special Olympics Illinois athlete Kaylee McLaughlin from taking the Plunge At Home. Kaylee took the Polar Plunge from home on Sunday, February 21, where she took an icy dip into a pool.

Like many, this was her first time plunging at home. Historically, she has plunged into Wick’s Lake in Rock Island with family, friends, and supporters by her side.  She has also participated in the WIU Plunge in Macomb and the Lake Storey Plunge in Galesburg. Kaylee’s first plunge was in 2017, but she has been supporting her Father’s plunge efforts for over a decade. 

There was no shortage of creativity when it comes to finding ways to encourage family, friends, and the public to champion her Plunge At Home endeavor. From posting countdown photos and videos on her personal Facebook page to selling bracelets and homemade enchiladas to the local Warren County community.

Kaylee is consistently one of the top Polar Plunge fundraisers. This year, Kaylee surpassed her fundraising goal by raising over $5,600. Polar Plunge isn’t the only event Kaylee champions. She supports the Ducky Derby, local Region F fundraisers, and so much more!

Despite the pandemic, in 2020, Kaylee raised over $13,000 for the organization.

When asked where her motivation comes from, Kaylee said, “I love Special Olympics. More than almost anything!”

“I love all the opportunities Special Olympics Illinois offers the athletes, especially the fundraising opportunities that allow me to fundraise my heart out so the program can continue to grow.”

To learn more about the Polar Plunge and how to get involved, please visit