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Third year a chilling, splashing success for Freezin' for a Reason

Pool plunge event raises $5,300 for BAPS Special Olympics

Sean Cunnane's parents help him dry off at 2018 Freezin' for a Reason.
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This marked the third year for Freezin’ for a Reason. And, the third straight year Sean Cunnane was part of the first official leap into the frigid pool.

“You have to understand, he has cerebral palsy and so when he gets cold he basically just stiffens up,” said Kris Cunnane, Sean’s mother. “Last year, he jumped in between Coach (David) Alexander and Coach (Ken) Ellett. They held onto him when they jumped. He doesn’t jump. So they jumped him in. He said ‘Mom, it was so cool. I really got to jump and then my whole body went numb.’”

Freezin’ for a Reason is a Broken Arrow Public Schools Special Olympic fundraiser sponsored by the BAPS Athletic Department. The purpose is two-fold. The majority of the money is used to provide uniforms and warm-up gear for the Special Olympic Athletes. The remainder goes toward helping with travel costs to the Summer Games in Stillwater.

“It is so cool, because the kids all match,” Kris Cunnane said. “They are just like any other athletic team. They all have their uniform and they love that.”

This year, 105 Broken Arrow athletes will participate in the game on the Oklahoma State University Campus. Each student will have three BA Tiger t-shirts in which to compete.

“Uniforms are expensive, so with the athletic department’s help we were able to completely outfit our entire team,” said Katie Fly, BAPS Special Olympic coach and BA Freshman Academy teacher. “We are thankful to the athletic department for thinking of our students just as they would any other athlete.”

The uniform, practices and participation in the summer games give the students a sense of what it’s like to be on a team. But the multi-night stay in an OSU dorm enhances the experience.

 “Special Olympics has been great for him because it has helped him make new friends,” Kris Cunnane explained. “The first year we went he stayed one night in the dorm and the other night in the hotel with my husband and me. The next year, and every year since, he has stayed in the dorm, so it has helped him with his independence as well.”

This year’s Freezin’ for a Reason, held at the BA Golf & Athletic Club, raised more than $5,300. The total cost for the team to travel, stay and compete in the summer games is more than $17,000. All that money is raised through donations and special events like Freezin’ for a Reason and the upcoming Special Olympic Chili Cook-Off and Silent Auction on Feb. 16 at 6 p.m. in the BA High School Cafeteria. Email kfly@baschools.org to purchase a ticket.

“We don’t want the parents to pay because typically they have medical bills and other expenses like that,” Fly said. “We would rather their money go to that. We fund raise 100 percent of the money, so we can take every athlete (to the summer games) for free.”