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Freeze the Fuzz, help Special Olympics

There were no freezing fuzz in sight at the Walmart parking Friday afternoon during the opening day of the Freeze the Fuzz event at Walmart in Kelowna.

The opening day did feature plenty of smiles, Mayor Walter Gray, former Kelowna Rocket Vernon Fiddler and a host of volunteers and Special Olympians on hand to kick off the event.

Formerly Free the Fuzz, this year's event to raise money for the Special Olympics takes on a new twist when on Saturday, members of the Kelowna RCMP and others in the community take a dip into a tub of freezing water.

"Every year for the last eight years we've been doing this and raising money for our local athletes," says RCMP Cst. Kris Clark.

He encourages people to stop by Walmart on Friday or Saturday and make a donation to Special Olympics.

"Even a little bit of change makes a big change for our local athletes. We have athletes here today that participate in various sports locally, provincially, nationally and internationally."

The freezing part happens on Saturday when people will have a chance to make a donation and try and dunk a cop or for a $50 donation, take the plunge into the freezing water yourself.

Hockey fans were excited to get the chance to meet and take pictures with Fiddler. The current Dallas Star is taking a short break after his 10th NHL season, and was pleased to have the chance to support this year's event.

"It's always good to come out. Special Olympics is a big thing for our community and it's great to see that Walmart and the RCMP are helping out to raise money. Anything we can give back to help out the Special Olympics we want to do. That's why I'm here today."

Former Rockets Shea Weber and Josh Georges are scheduled to be on hand on Saturday.

It takes many different elements to pull an event like this together, not the least of which is the volunteers.

People like Edie Burditt, a 32 year volunteer with Special Olympics.

"There were five of us that started in Vancouver," says Burditt who admits she had no idea how big Special Olympics would become.

She says she keeps coming back because of the athletes.

"I just love it and I have faith in it. I've seen so many things happen. The mothers say 'I don't think they can do it' but give them to me for one week and then they say 'I didn't know they could do that'."

Freeze the Fuzz is on until 8:00 p.m., Friday and from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Saturday.

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