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Feb. 24, 2012
To view more photos from the Colden Pond Plunge, click here.
To view photos on Northwest Up ‘til Dawn’s Facebook page, click here.
With the sun shining and temperatures in the 40s, five Northwest Missouri State University students shed their jackets and jumped into Colden Pond Friday afternoon to raise money for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
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.”
Donation jars with the names of Northwest students and employees were placed in the J.W. Jones Student Union throughout the month. This year's campaign raised a total of $2,450.
Northwest women’s basketball players and twins Candace and Alexis Boeh generated the largest fundraising total, drawing $837.16. Also taking the plunge were students Bailey Hoerning ($715.99), Pat Laky ($181.26) and Mel Peitzmeier ($178.09).
“The whole reason for this event is for St. Jude’s, and there’s kids who go through a lot more than sitting in a freezing pond for five minutes,” Alexis Boeh said. “It meant a lot to be a part of something like this.”
During the plunge Friday afternoon, volunteer emergency workers donned waterproof suits and stood chest-deep in the water, ready to assist any of the participants. As each jumper emerged from the water, volunteers covered them in blankets.
“I was a little freaked out,” Peitzmeier said after doing a cannonball into the water. “I didn’t know how cold it was actually going to be, and once I got in my heart just stopped. It was absolutely freezing. I did not last long at all.”
To the person who remained in the water the longest, campus radio station KZLX awarded a pair of tickets for Northwest’s April 19 spring concert, featuring hip hop artists Mike Posner and the New Boyz.
Early on, it appeared Laky had clinched the tickets. With his Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity brothers cheering him on, Laky stayed in the water for 4 minutes and 55 seconds. He even swam a length of the pond before stepping to dry ground.
The Boeh sisters, who donned matching pink swimsuits and blue wigs, refused to lose, however. They leaned on each other for mental support as well as cheers from the crowd to stay in the water for 5 minutes and 3 seconds.
“I was thinking there’s no way in heck I’m staying in there for that long after Patrick had jumped, but once you get in there I didn’t want to lose,” Alexis Boeh said.
Founded in 1998, Up 'til Dawn has grown into a nationwide philanthropy with organizations at more than 150 colleges and universities. Throughout the academic year, Northwest’s Office of Campus Activities, along with various student organizations and Greek-letter societies, sponsor a series of student-led fundraising activities to benefit St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn.
Last year's Up 'til Dawn effort raised nearly $33,000 for the hospital, and organizers hope to exceed $50,000 in donations by the time the 2011-12 campaign ends next month. The Colden Pond Plunge is the campaign’s largest fundraiser.
For more information about the Northwest Up ‘til Dawn campaign, contact Kat Donovan, leadership graduate assistant in the Office of Campus Activities, at 660.562.1226 or S277534@mail.nwmissouri.edu.
To learn about ways to support St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, visit http://www.myuptildawn.org/.
Mark Hornickel, Media Relations Specialist
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Northwest Missouri State University
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