ST. MARYS — Despite a rain delay, local high school students and a handful of adults jumped into a pond to raise money for cancer research.
On Sunday afternoon, 42 students and nine celebrity plungers leaped or ran into what was optimistically estimated to be 65-degree weather, as part of the seventh-annual Memorial High School Relay for Life Polar Plunge.
After the delay in start time, the raffle prize winners were announced, and then Bill Kellermeyer with Relay for Life of Southwest Auglaize County read the approximately 100 names listed on each of the balloons that attendees were set to launch into the air for the annual balloon launch.
Kellermeyer thanked Memorial High School Relay for Life Adviser Karen Newlove for all the high school team does for the county Relay for Life.
“This has always been a strong and a successful team,” Kellermeyer said, also noting the three parts of Relay for Life. “The first is fight back, and it’s events like these that help us do that. Also, there is to celebrate and to remember. Celebrate those who’ve won or who are winning their fight with cancer. And remember, remember those who’ve fought bravely but who did not win their fight with cancer.”
Kellermeyer read through each name, and one by one, the balloons were launched into the sky.
“These balloons are the reason we are here,” Newlove said. “We all have a story, and there’s our hope.”
Students then announced the costume winners for Sunday’s fundraiser — the costumes included outfits such as a spider, the Smurfs and Clifford the Big Red Dog. After the prizers were doled out, Newlove noted the 30 of the students raised $100 or more. Students had to raise a minimum of $50 to plunge and at least $100 to take home a T-shirt. Christine Sullivan was the top fundraiser — netting $450.
This year’s Memorial High School Relay for Life captain Troy Newlove then announced the celebrities for the 2012 plunge — Jen Kellermeyer, Abbey Craft, Andrew Adkins, Jamie Knapke, Shawn Harrison, Matt Schrolucke, Al Solomon, Josh Fenwick and Chas Adkins. He noted the team has raised $8,033.97 so far for the American Cancer Society.
When they registered, the plungers were divided into groups, and when their groups were announced, they took their turn jumping or running into Steve and Amy Dues’s pond on 219.
Once all the groups plunged, the plungers had the option of going again.
Memorial High School junior Devlan Taylor said he jumped into the water five times on Sunday.
“It was cold, and it just gradually got colder each time I plunged,” he said. “The first time was horrible.”
Taylor, who dressed as a “nerd” with fellow junior Logan Simons, said the costume wasn’t their first choice.
“We were going to wear booty shorts and no shirts, but we couldn’t find all the stuff, so we decided at the last minute to do nerds,” he said.
“We already had the stuff, and we figured it wouldn’t weigh us down. We said it’s cool and comfortable, so we might as well do that.”
This was Taylor’s first time participating in the Memorial High School Relay for Life Polar Plunge, but he noted he was in the organization last year, too.
“Last year in Relay for Life I didn’t really do anything, and I wanted to be more productive this year,” he said.
“I raised $136 just from going around during lunches — I just felt I needed to do it this year.”
The Relay for Life of Southwest Auglaize County will be June 15 and 16 at Skip Baughman Stadium in St. Marys.