In his seventh year as a polar plunge participant, Eugene Boyce topped the leaderboard for fundraising in Otter Tail County, raising $5,737 plus matching funds which have yet to be tallied.
The polar plunge is the primary fundraising event for Special Olympics with funds raised in Minnesota staying within the state. Fundraisers who generate at least $75 in donations jumped into Otter Tail Lake in the county’s second annual plunge on Saturday.
An adoptee from Russia at the age of 13 months, Boyce struggles with learning and attention due to fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). He enjoyed basketball, but wasn’t granted much playing time, which is when he first became involved with Special Olympics, playing basketball when he was a sophomore in high school. “(I) have played every year since then, now on the Unified team. I also participate in softball, track and golf. Special Olympics gives me a way to be part of a team, compete in sports that I like, and meet new people. My dad and I are a Unified team for golf and compete every year.”
The polar plunge is a way for Boyce to give back to the organization he appreciates so much. “I like helping raise money for Special Olympics to help cover the cost of athletes attending and participating in their sports events,” explained Boyce. “It’s also a good way to have fun with my team and meet new people. Without the fundraising the athletes wouldn’t have these opportunities.” With an official goal of $3,000, Boyce hoped to raise over $5,000, a feat he accomplished, and then some.
Boyce is a member of The Fergus Falls Frozen Assets team, which is coached by Jesse Thorstad and captained by Alex Hanson. The team took to the water with a patriotic theme of red, white and blue. The team raised $15,559 with the Otter Tail Polar Plunge raising a total of $51,935 for Special Olympics Minnesota. In closing, Boyce shared, “I am really happy we were able to raise so much money for Special Olympics!”