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Left to right, Callie Legan, Linsey Filger, Jada VanDuyne, Taylor Felz and Spencer Gouldsmith jumped into Colden Pond Thursday to raise awareness for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The group raised $829 for the hospital. (Northwest Missouri State University)

Left to right, Callie Legan, Linsey Filger, Jada VanDuyne, Taylor Felz and Spencer Gouldsmith jumped into Colden Pond Thursday to raise awareness for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The group raised $829 for the hospital. (Northwest Missouri State University)

Feb. 22, 2019

Students plunge into Colden Pond for St. Jude children’s hospital


Linsey Filger (above) and Spencer Gouldsmith (below) take their turns jumping into Colden Pond. (Photos by Carly Hostetter/Northwest Missouri State University)

Linsey Filger (above) and Spencer Gouldsmith (below) take their turns jumping into Colden Pond. (Photos by Carly Hostetter/Northwest Missouri State University)

With music from the movie “Frozen” providing a prelude from a speaker on the bank of Colden Pond, five Northwest Missouri State University students jumped into the water Thursday evening.

Jada VanDuyne, Linsey Filger, Taylor Felz, Callie Legan and Spencer Gouldsmith were the latest students to take part in the annual Colden Pond Plunge sponsored by Northwest’s Up ‘til Dawn chapter to raise awareness for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

“It was very cold, but kind of refreshing,” Gouldsmith, a sophomore accounting and finance major from Lee’s Summit, Missouri, said. “I don’t think I’ve ever been that cold in my life.”

Temperatures on the ground were in the 30s with a sunny sky, but that meant little to the jumpers, several of whom called the plunge “shocking.” With Colden Pond covered by snow and ice from end to end, a large square was cut in the ice at the base of the Peace Pavilion to give the participants access to the water. One at a time, they took their turns jumping into the water, dressed in gym shorts and t-shirts.

“After campaigning all week, it was completely worth it,” VanDuyne, a freshman history major from Lee’s Summit, Missouri. She raised $264 for the cause – the most of any of Thursday’s participants. “It really motivates you for the kids.”

Like many students involved with Up ‘til Dawn, Gouldsmith had a personal reason for his participation. His younger sister is developmentally delayed and has cerebral palsy. He raised $109 for the right to jump into Colden Pond.

“St. Jude opened my eyes a little more,” he said. “It’s cool to help families in similar situations or worse. That’s my outlook – there’s always someone that needs help. So that’s why I chose to join the exec board because I feel like you can do something with this.”

The participants raised a total of $829 through the event while the Up ‘til Dawn chapter has raised more than $37,400 during its campaign. Up ‘til Dawn chapters are on college campuses throughout the nation, and the Northwest chapter this year set a goal of raising $40,000. 

The Colden Pond Plunge was the last fundraising event of the Northwest chapter’s 2018-19 campaign. Other events included an all-nighter to pay tribute to the patients and their families who undergo sleepless nights during treatments and a “Cut Loose” event that drew 74 participants who cut at least 8 inches of their hair for Children With Hair Loss.

“I think it’s great that we’ve planned so many events to support St. Jude, and this is just a unique way to get more students involved on campus because it’s so different and something everyone wants to do is jump into Colden Pond,” Mackenzie Smith, a junior therapeutic recreation major from Shawnee, Kansas, who serves as Up ‘til Dawn’s side events assistant, said. “I chose to join Up ‘til Dawn because I just love their mission. Being around people who have experienced so many stories of cancer has just been very motivating to be a part of this team and help people fight the good fight.”

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, 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.

The Up ‘til Dawn Executive Board at Northwest consists of 14 students dedicated to raising awareness and funding for St. Jude.

For more information about Northwest’s Up ‘til Dawn chapter and its fundraising events, contact Up ‘til Dawn Executive Director Carina Harding at S523470@nwmissouri.edu


For more information, please contact:

Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
mhorn@nwmissouri.edu | 660.562.1704 | Fax: 660.562.1900

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