This year, I have the honor of serving as one of the co-chairs of the 50th Anniversary of Special Olympics Celebration, which will be taking place this July 17th - July 21st, at the birthplace of Special Olympics, Soldier Field in Chicago. Therefore, in honor of this year's 50th Anniversary of Special Olympics, I have decided it was only fitting to Polar Plunge twice! Once, on March 4th, in the birthplace of the Special Olympics Movement in Chicago with my son, Mikie, and my daughter, Mary, to represent the next generation of the Movement, and once in Belleville, Illinois, on March 9th, with my fellow board members on "Team Board Backers!"

We will be plunging in honor of my twin nephews, Mikey and Johnny, who are Special Olympic medal winners, as well as in honor of the 22,000 athletes and 20,000 young athletes that Special Olympics serves in the city and state of Illinois each year. I have learned so much from the athletes of Special Olympics- way more than I could ever give back, no matter how hard I try. I have seen firsthand how Special Olympics changes lives for the better. Yes, for the Special Olympians, but often times even more so for those who become involved. I know this because it happened to me. Special Olympics has changed my and my family's lives for the better in more ways than we could ever put into words.

Therefore, if you could help our "50th Anniversary Golden Gummy Bears" Team, (named by my 3rd grade daughter) reach our goal of raising $5k for the 50th in Chicago and $5k for the 50th in Belleville, IL, for "Team Board Backers," we would be forever grateful! Our family will then plan to match what is raised at one plunge for the other plunge to make them even!

If you have ever contemplated taking the plunge yourself, come join our team! The 50th Anniversary is a great time to check this off your bucket list!

Also, please "Save the Date" for July 20th and July 21st and check out the 50th Anniversary website for all details related to the festivities and concert that will be taking place to celebrate the past, present, and future of the Special Olympics Movement!

Thank you, to each of you, for your support to a cause that is so near and dear to our family's heart, and thank you most importantly, for "choosing to include" in all that you do at school, at work, and in the community.

With Deepest Gratitude,

Jenny Fortner

Co-Chair, Special Olympics 50th Anniversary


Donating through this site is simple, fast, and secure. It is also the most efficient way to make a contribution to my Polar Plunge efforts and show your support for Special Olympics Illinois.  If you would like to #PlungeWith me or learn more about this “official event of winter,” visit for all of the chilly details.


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