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Feb. 26, 2016
Five Northwest Missouri State University students received the privilege of jumping into Colden Pond on a chilly February day to raise awareness for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
One by one, the students took a turn jumping into the pond Friday afternoon as a crowd gathered at the water’s shoreline to watch the ritual. Unlike years past, the lack of snow on the surrounding landscape or ice covering the pond created a more spring-like feel, but the water was rightfully cold.
Northwest’s chapter of Up ‘til Dawn sponsors the annual Colden Pond Plunge, which raised $710 this year. The plunge is one of multiple so-called side events the chapter organizes each year to raise money for St. Jude. Donations to the Colden Pond Plunge raised the chapter’s fundraising total to more than $23,000 during its 2015-2016 campaign.
|Northwest student Adam Sibbel jumps into Colden Pond Friday during the Colden Pond Plunge sponsored by Northwest's chapter of Up 'til Dawn. (Photo by Teja Yedugani/Northwest Missouri State University)|
“I think this is an amazing and fun way to fund raise for St. Jude,” said Rose Halpin, a sophomore international business and business management major from Lee’s Summit who earned the right to jump in the pond. “I didn’t know much about St. Jude before I joined Alpha Sigma Alpha (sorority), and because a lot of the members are on the exec board for Up ‘til Dawn I have recently developed a connection with it.”
St. Jude is the only pediatric cancer research center where families never pay for treatment not covered by insurance. The hospital’s efforts have helped push overall survival rates from childhood cancers from less than 20 percent when the hospital opened in 1962 to 80 percent today. While its daily operating costs reach $1.7 million, an average of 7,800 active patients visit the hospital every year, most of whom are treated on an outpatient basis.
“Even though Northwest is not the biggest campus out there, our efforts help substantially in saving the lives of children all over the country,” said Monica Irwin, an Up ‘til Dawn executive board member and junior financial management major from Omaha, Nebraska.
The cause is a meaningful one for the executive board members of Northwest’s Up ‘til Chapter, including Hannah Woodson, the chapter’s executive director and a senior art education major from Kansas City.
Woodson saw firsthand the effects of childhood cancer and the benefits of St. Jude when a 2 year-old girl for whom she nannies was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Through the help of the hospital’s programming and assistance, the girl is now 4 years old and cancer free.
“Kids are my absolute favorite things, and it makes me sad that kids have to suffer through something like that,” Woodson said. “At St. Jude, they suffer, but they suffer in the most positive environment they can be in.”
Kris Hudson is Up ‘til Dawn’s side events chair and a junior public relations major from Grandview, Missouri. He watched a cousin battle and survive cancer with the aid of St. Jude.
“It just really touched me dearly,” Hudson said. “When I found out that we had a St. Jude executive board on campus, it was a no-brainer. I knew I wanted to participate.”
Halpin raised $136.44 to jump in the pond and was joined by Teagan Suey, a senior special education and elementary education major from Elkhorn, Nebraska ($185.81); Matthew Peacher, a senior vocal music education major from Gladstone, Missouri ($138.38); Adam Sibbel, a senior agronomy major from Carroll, Iowa ($68.49); and MacKenzie Magwire, a graduate student from Raytown, Missouri, who is pursuing her Master of Business Administration ($55.96).
Northwest’s Up ‘til Dawn executive board identified eight student leaders on the campus and placed their names on containers in the J.W. Jones Student Union. The five students with the highest totals after a week of fundraising were allowed to participate in the Colden Pond Plunge.
Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
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Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468