This website is best viewed in a browser that supports web standards.

Skip to content or, if you would rather, Skip to navigation.

Northwest Missouri State University


News Release

Erica Williams, Sean Eddington, Kyla Kirksey and Rob O'Doherty huddle in blankets after participating in the St. Jude's Up ‘Til Dawn Colden Pond Plunge Friday afternoon at Northwest. The event raised $3,860 to benefit St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital.

Erica Williams, Sean Eddington, Kyla Kirksey and Rob O'Doherty huddle in blankets after participating in the St. Jude's Up ‘Til Dawn Colden Pond Plunge Friday afternoon at Northwest. The event raised $3,860 to benefit St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital. (Photo by Darren Whitley/University Advancement)

Feb. 25, 2011

Colden Pond Plunge raises $3,860 for children’s cancer research

Erica Williams strikes a pose as she leaps into Colden Pond. Williams raised the most individual donations, drawing $356.04.

Erica Williams strikes a pose as she leaps into Colden Pond. Williams raised the most individual donations, drawing $356.04. (Photo by Taylor Allan/University Advancement)

MARYVILLE, Mo. - With a fresh coat of snow on the ground and temperatures in the teens, four Northwest Missouri State University students shed their winter coats and jumped into Colden Pond Friday afternoon to raise money for St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn.

The Northwest Chapter of Up ‘Til Dawn annually sponsors the event, which encourages the University community to donate money on behalf of volunteers who are willing to "take the plunge."

To view more photos from the Colden Pond Plunge click here.

To view video highlights from the Colden Pond Plunge click here.

"We all do it because it's a really good cause," said Alan Reed, Northwest's Up ‘Til Dawn fundraising co-chair. "It's a great cause to raise money for children with cancer. While the children are there receiving treatment they don't have to pay a dime. It costs a lot of money to operate the hospital, so anything we can do to help out I think is well worth it."

Donation jars with the names of Northwest students and staff were placed in the J.W. Jones Student Union throughout the month. This year's campaign raised $3,860, which included a $2,700 donation by the Northwest Student Senate. Students Rob O'Doherty, Kyla Kirksey and Erica Williams, and Sean Eddington, a Missouri Academy residential counselor, generated the highest individuals fundraising totals.

Friday afternoon, volunteer emergency workers donned waterproof suits and stood chest-deep in the water, ready to assist any jumper who needed it. As each of the jumpers emerged from the water, volunteers covered them in blankets.

"I didn't really know what to expect," said O'Doherty, a senior public relations and advertising major from Omaha, Neb. "I thought it would be cold, but as soon as I hit the water, I couldn't breathe, and I knew I needed to get out of there."

There was a bonus prize this year from campus radio station KZLX, which announced it would give two tickets for the April 15 Goo Goo Dolls concert at Northwest to the person who stayed in the pond the longest. At 46 seconds in the water, Kirksey seemed destined to win the prize. But Williams, the last to jump, stayed in the pond longer.

"I felt like a thousand needles were going into my body, but I tried my best," said Kirksey, a junior physical education major from Blue Springs.

Williams, a junior physical education major from Liberty, also raised the most donations, drawing $356.04. Eddington raised $342.80, Kirksey raised $329.95 and O'Doherty raised $312.46.

While all four individuals got a fundraising boost from the student organizations in which they are active, Kirksey said she also earned donations by being a designated driver. She charged $2 to fellow students who needed a ride, and $3 if they wanted a ride to a fast food joint.

Founded in 1998, Up 'til Dawn has grown into a nationwide philanthropy with organizations at more than 150 colleges and universities. The campaign consists of a variety of fundraising efforts during the fall and spring and culminates with all-night celebrations by participating groups on each campus.

For more information about the Colden Pond Plunge contact Carli Mercer, St. Jude's Up ‘Til Dawn public relations chair, at s274553@nwmissouri.edu.

To learn of ways to support St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, join the St. Jude Up ‘Til Dawn 2010-2011 Facebook group or visit the website www.myuptildawn.org.


For more information, please contact:

Mark Hornickel, Media Relations Specialist
mhorn@nwmissouri.edu | 660.562.1704 | Fax: 660.562.1900

Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468