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Polar Plunge Raised More than $1 Million for Special Olympics

By Emily Morris | March 11, 2014 12:22pm
 The mayor challenged the comedian to take a dip in the lake for charity Sunday.
Jimmy Fallon, Rahm Emanuel Take the Polar Plunge
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CHICAGO — This month's star-studded Chicago Polar Plunge, in which "The Tonight Show" host Jimmy Fallon, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and about 3,200 others took icy dips into Lake Michigan, raised more than $1 million for Special Olympics Chicago, the organization announced Tuesday.

It's the most money ever raised by the event, which also had record participation, Special Olympics Chicago spokeswoman Maura Bruton said.

Others who braved the near-freezing water temperature and 10-degree outside temps on March 2 included ex-Chicago Bear Israel Idonije and Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez.

Fallon took the plunge after the mayor, via Twitter, challenged the comedian to join him. In return, Emanuel said he'd agree to go on "The Tonight Show."

The mayor agreed to do his first Polar Plunge after he lost a bet to Chicago's schoolchildren, who read a collective 2.1 million books after he dared them to read 2 million.

Fallon donned a suit and tie for the event and asked Chicagoans to do the same in support.

Special Olympics Chicago President Jen Kramer said before the event that she personally raised more than $250,000 and that a special kind of buzz surrounded the 14th annual plunge after Fallon agreed to join in.

Those who wish to donate to Special Olympics Chicago's Polar Plunge campaign can still do so until April 1.