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Nov. 13, 2017
Seven Northwest Missouri State University students jumped into Colden Pond Friday afternoon, continuing a tradition to raise awareness for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
With temperatures in the 30s, the students took turns jumping into the pond and completed the annual spectacle in an efficient five minutes. But they raised $2,515 for St. Jude in the process.
This year, seven students received the opportunity to jump into the campus pond.
While the students showed up to the plunge wearing all styles of costumes, Patrick Baker chose a penguin costume.
“They said pick a costume and I thought this was a really funny and random one, and it would be kind of cool to see a penguin dive into Colden Pond,” he said.
The water proved to be colder than the jumpers anticipated.
“I still can’t feel my legs,” Baker said afterward. “But I’m going to go home. Maybe warm up. We’ll see.”
Harding shouted “Cowabunga!” as she leapt from the pavilion. “I was like ‘oh yeah!’ And then I got in and it was quite a bit colder.”
Despite their silly approach to the event, the cause is a serious one for executive board members of Northwest’s Up ‘til Chapter and for the students who jumped.
“Cancer runs in my family and I love kids with all my best,” Finnegan said. “So this gives me the perfect opportunity to fight back against cancer and show support for kids.”
Harding, who also serves on Northwest’s Up ‘til Dawn Executive Board, said she wanted to help raise awareness of St. Jude and became more inspired to help the research hospital while visiting it last summer as part of a leadership seminar in Memphis, Tennessee.
“It was something you think about and people tell you about it, but actually going to experience it – seeing the kids in the hospital, seeing what they go through and what their day looks like, how they help families all around the world and the research – was an awesome experience,” she said.
Northwest’s Up ‘til Dawn chapter sponsors the annual Colden Pond Plunge, which is one of multiple events it organizes each year to raise money for St. Jude. Donations to the Colden Pond Plunge raised the chapter’s fundraising total to $8,591 during its 2017-2018 campaign.
Up ‘til Dawn also will host its annual Big Event on Friday, Jan. 26, in Bearcat Arena on the Northwest campus. Teams of six who raise at least $600 are invited to attend the all-night celebration of fundraising, which will include games, food and prizes. Participants stay awake through the night as a tribute to the families and patients who have to stay up all night during treatments.
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.
For more information about Northwest’s Up ‘til Dawn chapter and its fundraising events, contact Executive Director Micaela Schoening at S523890@nwmissouri.edu.
Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
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Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468