Officer to Jump Into Freezing Lake 24 Times Friday

Officer Julie Genualdi will run into Lake Michigan once an hour for 24 hours, starting at 1 p.m. Friday, to raise funds for Special Olympics. Cmdr. Vincenzo Genualdi of the Niles Police is her 'Super Plunge' support person. You can donate to

Imagine running around in a bathing suit in this weather. Now imagine running into the icy waters of Lake Michigan in that bathing suit. Yikes!

Now imagine doing that once an hour, through the frigid darkness of the night, for 24 hours. 

That's what Officer Julie Genualdi of the Park Ridge Police Department will be doing starting at 1 p.m. Friday. Commander Vincenzo Genualdi of the Niles Police Department will be her support person.

She's raising money for Special Olympics Illinois. Anyone may donate on her page by clicking here. 

Patch. com asked Officer Julie Genualdi a few questions.

Patch: Are you really sure you want to do this?

Officer Julie Genualdi: 2013 marks the 8th year for this chilly endeavor (SUPER Plunge)!   The Polar Plunge itself, is one of the many fundraising events that make up the Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR) fundraising efforts to benefit Special Olympics Illinois. 

Have you ever done anything like this before?

I have participated in the Polar Plunge for the past two years, however the SUPER Plunge is the Ultimate Challenge for me, which pales in comparison to the challenges the athletes of Special Olympics face on a daily basis.  

So how does it work? You have to take a dip in the lake once an hour for 24 hours? Where do you stay in between dips?

I will join approximately 50 Unbelievable Plungers from around the state who will enter the icy waters of Lake Michigan once a hour, every hour, for 24 hours straight beginning at 1pm on Friday, February 22nd through the 23rd.  We will be camped out in a tent (heated) on the sandy beach of Northwestern University, Evanston.   

Can you wear a fur-lined bathing suit or something like that?

No wetsuits are allowed, so I'm going to have to be creative to keep warm.  Plungers are required to have a support person there with them to assist them throughout the event. I recruited my husband, Division Commander Vince Genualdi, of the Niles Police Department, who is also very active in the LETR.  Plus he can make sure I have plenty of HOT coffee!  

Vince has participated in the Polar Plunge with me in the past, so he has first hand knowledge on what it's like. 

This is an amazing challenge. Why do it?

To raise funds for the more than 21,300 Special Olympics Illinois athletes and nearly 13,000 Young Athletes with and without intellectual disabilities who train and compete throughout the year. Special Olympics Illinois currently offers training and competition opportunities in 19 sports, all at no cost to the athletes or their families. 

Who thought this up? Someone who reads torture manuals for fun?

As a member of the "Chosen Frozen" group of SUPER Plungers, I am collecting donation from family, friends, co-workers and anyone else who wants to support these Amazing Athletes.  Visit my page:   http://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/julie-genualdi/2013-super-plunge 

And you do other fundraising activities as well?

I began running the Law Enforcement Torch Run in 1999 and have continued to expand the Park Ridge Police Department's involvement in the LETR by coordinating the Cop on Rooftop, Polar Plunge, Spare Change for Real Change, and Plane Pull events.  Fundraising for the athletes of the Special Olympics Illinois has been a passion of mine since then.


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