PHOTOS: Third annual San Francisco polar plunge

Roughly 1,000 people took a plunge into San Francisco’s frigid bay as part of the third annual Polar Plunge.

Families and costume-wearing participants filled the bleachers at San Francisco’s Aquatic Park, where they waited patiently to rush into the water in support of the Special Olympics of Northern California.

San Bruno native Jack Torres, 5, suffers from cerebral palsy, an illness that affects the functions of  the brain and nervous system. Troy and Danielle, Jack’s parents, dipped into the water with him to support other families with similar circumstances.

The Special Olympics of Northern California is a program that allows more than 14,000 athletes with disabilities to participate in free sports training and competitions in Northern California.

Schools from all over Northern California were in attendance; including middle schools, high schools and colleges. Members of the San Francisco Police Department also participated in the event, alongside companies and families.

According to Ilisa Kessler, vice president of marketing and strategic initiatives, this year’s Polar Plunge raised about $240,000.

“I think people want to make a difference in their community, and when it’s something that’s fun and easy to do it makes it that much better,” Kessler said.

 

More than 1,000 people attended the third annual Polar Plunge at San Francisco's Aquatic Park Saturday, Feb. 25, 2012. Photo by Godofredo Vasquez.

People attending the third annual Polar Plunge at San Francisco's Aquatic Park wore costumes to run into the cold water on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2012. Photo by Sam Battles.

Ryker, left, and Kendrick Devries, right, play with their dad's duck mask during the third annual Polar Plunge at San Francisco's Aquatic Park Saturday, Feb. 25, 2012. Photo by Godofredo Vasquez.

A little girl high-fives a group of Imperial Stormtroopers while attending the third annual Polar Plunge at San Francisco's Aquatic Park Saturday, Feb. 25, 2012. Photo by Sam Battles.

A group of Star Wars enthusiasts rushes into the water during the third annual Polar Plunge at San Francisco's Aquatic Park Saturday, Feb. 25, 2012. Photo by Sam Battles.

A group of high school students run into the water while holding each other's hands during the third annual Polar Plunge at San Francisco's Aquatic Park Saturday, Feb. 25, 2012. Photo by Godofredo Vasquez.

Troy Torres, center, helps his son, Jack, dip his feet into the water at the aquatic park in San Francisco Feb. 25, 2012. Jack, 5, has cerebral palsy, an illness which prevents him from having control of his movement. Photo by Godofredo Vasquez.

A man dressed up as Poseidon exits the water during the third annual Polar Plunge at San Francisco's Aquatic Park Saturday, Feb. 25, 2012. Photo by Sam Battles.

San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr participates in the third annual Polar Plunge at San Francisco's Aquatic Park Saturday, Feb. 25, 2012. Photo by Godofredo Vasquez.

San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr, left, and police officer Ray Padmore, right, after participating in the third annual Polar Plunge in San Francisco's Aquatic Park Saturday, Feb. 25, 2012. Photo by Sam Battles.

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