Intermittent snow showers gave way to clearing skies and above-freezing temperatures just in time for the Colden Pond Plunge at Northwest Missouri State University Friday afternoon.
But the water was still plenty cold as five student took flying leaps into the cement-lined lagoon through a large rectangular hole chopped in the ice.
Sponsored by Up 'til Dawn, a national fundraiser for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., this year's plunge featured the campaign's five top student money-raisers, who jumped into the pond to the cheers of scores of classmates gathered along the shore dressed in heavy winter coats and sipping hot chocolate.
This year’s jumpers, along with their fundraising totals, were Kate Bridges ($1,412.93), Johnny Belfonte ($500.07), Makenzie Kroenke ($272.24), Lauren Hansen ($176.26) and Tassi Cook ($153.20).
Local firefighters and Northwest employees Steve Bliley and Chris Redden, dressed in insulated, waterproof suits, waited in the water for each plunger, then assisted the students back to dry land where they were immediately wrapped in warm blankets.
The plunge marked the end of several weeks of fundraising in which Up 'til Dawn volunteers asked members of the Northwest community to make donations on behalf of 18 Plunge contenders. The 2013 Plunge drive brought in more than $3,000, well above last year's total.
Founded by the late entertainer Danny Thomas, St. Jude opened in 1962 and is probably most noted for its work in treating children with cancer. The hospital operates on private donations, and children are admitted regardless of their ability to pay.
The Plunge is one of several Up 'Till Dawn fundraisers conducted at Northwest each year. In 2012 students raised a total of $17,000 over the course of the entire campaign.
By Staff Report
The Maryville Daily Forum - Maryville, MO
By Staff Report
Updated Mar. 4, 2013 @ 7:39 am
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