Five students dove into the ice-cold waters of Colden Pond to raise money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Feb. 21.
Senior Taylor Felz, Linsey Filger, Callie Legan, Spencer Gouldsmith and Freshmen Jada VanDuyne were the fearless students who took part in the annual Polar Plunge sponsored by Northwest’s Up ‘til Dawn.
Felz, who has been part of Up ‘til Dawn since 2016, was overwhelmed after she came out of the pond.
“I have never felt anything so cold in my life,” Felz said. “My whole body just went into shock as soon as I hit the water. I basically went numb, which I guess was kind of a good thing.”
Felz, who raised $230 for St. Jude, said she would participate next year.
“I would absolutely do it again. The sacrifice we made jumping into the pond is nothing compared to the sacrifices that St. Jude patients have to make everyday,” Felz said.
There was a small crowd to cheer on the participants as they jumped, a majority of them supporting their friends who have raised money.
Hannah Hetzel, an elementary education freshman, was excited to see her best friend, Legan, jump.
“It was really fun to see my best friend jump, as she is someone who likes to help out whenever she can for charity,” Hetzel said. “She did an awesome job.”
Mackenzie Smith, therapy and recreation junior, helped organize the event.
“I’m on the St. Jude executive board which consists of 14 people, and my prior role was side events assistant, so this particular event was assigned to me and I was happy to take it on,” Smith said.
Smith enjoyed organizing the event as it allowed her to be more independent.
“My favorite part was seeing the excitement and nervousness from the jumpers,” Smith said. “It showed that the event had an impact on them. Even though we had to reschedule due to bad weather, I’m glad we could still carry out the event.”
VanDuyne, who represented Phi Mu and the St. Jude executive board, raised the most out of all the participants.
“I raised $264 for the cause, and it was extremely heartwarming to make a positive impact in another individual’s life, which is something I will cherish for a long time,” VanDuyne said.
VanDuyne is the youngest on the executive board and has been part of other charities in the past.
“I have been part of donating and advocating for The M3 Foundation and Children’s Miracle Network Hospital, but as I fundraised and learned more about the significance of St. Jude and the strength of the patients, the event became much more personal for me,” VanDuyne said.
Overall, the participants raised more than $800 from the event and raised over $37,000 during its Up ‘til Dawn campaign.