‘I got them back’: APD gets hosed for Special Olympics fundraising

Polar Plunge goes virtual during the pandemic
Published: Nov. 10, 2020 at 7:37 AM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - There are a lot of virtual adaptations in the times of COVID-19. Now among the creative solutions to limiting large gatherings is the Virtual Polar Plunge to raise money for the Special Olympics.

“Most years we jump into Goose Lake,” said Special Olympics Alaska CEO and President Sue Perles, “and with COVID and the pandemic, we just can’t do that this year, so we’re asking people to plunge in their own way.”

Ayesha Abdul-Jillil said it can really be anything involving water and cold temperatures. She said something like buckets of water or even water balloons would suffice.

Abdul-Jillil is a serious Special Olympian. She said she’s been competing since 2001, has brought home many medals and set some records in events like shot-put and bowling.

For her Virtual Polar Plunge, she had a long-time friend and big-time supporter of Special Olympics Alaska, APD Officer Matthew Fraize help her out. Her version of the plunge was a lot like the ALS Ice-Bucket Challenge that was largely popular years ago.

Based on the video, she got pretty cold. She and Fraize hugged it out, but she knew he’d get what was coming to him.

“I challenged all of APD and got him back,” Abdul-Jillil said.

With a little help from the Anchorage Fire Department, she got him and two other school resource offers. And she got them good.

All suited up in firefighter gear, Abdul-Jillil soaked the APD officers on a snowy Monday morning with a fire hose. Fraize said they got pretty cold, but they looked like kids playing in the sprinkler during the summer.

Fraize and Abdul-Jillil are even now. As for the firefighters who helped them get soaked? Fraize proudly challenged them and APD command staff to do the next Virtual Polar Plunge.

One doesn’t have to be a first responder or a Special Olympian to participate this year. Those who want to get in on the challenge, or just donate, can do so on the Special Olympics Alaska website.

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