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Hundreds Will Leap Into Chilly Lake Michigan For Polar Bear Plunge To Help Local Families

This year, the Polar Bear Club hopes to raise $35,000 to help three families.

The Chicago Polar Bear Club is raising money to help three Chicago families before the Polar Plunge.
Provided/Doug Goldrick
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CHICAGO — The Chicago Polar Bear Club is holding its famous plunge into Lake Michigan next week.

Hundreds of people are expected to run and jump into the icy cold lake from Oak Street Beach to raise money for local families in need on Saturday, Jan. 25. The group has raised more than $400,000 since it started the tradition.

This year, the Polar Bear Club hopes to raise $35,000 to help three families:

  • Julian and Jessica Robinson are without medical insurance but are struggling with health problems — as is their youngest son, a 19-month-old boy with asthma. They are “young, kind and determined to make a better life for their family,” and donated money will help them pay for medical costs, family care, rent and food, among other things, according to the Polar Bear Club.
  • Vanessa Hernandez is a single mom of three kids who recently lost her home. She is living close to her work while her children are temporarily staying with relatives, which has been “disheartening” for her, according to the Polar Bear Club. Money donated to her family will help cover rent and groceries.
  • Diana Cadena is the main source of income in her family, which consists of her, her five daughters and her grandson. Cadena can’t work regularly based on her doctor’s instructions, and donations would help the family with rent, groceries and medical bills, among other things.

This year’s event starts noon Jan. 25 at Oak Street Beach, 1000 N. Lake Shore Drive. Donations can be made online.

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