The temperature was a teeth-chattering -14 C with a wind chill making it feel more like -27, ice was forming on the water and even the spectators, who were bundled tightly in their winter coats, were shaking in their boots.
All this, however, was still not enough to prevent 27 brave Conestoga College students, staff and faculty from taking a “polar plunge” in the courtyard by the pond on Feb. 26 into a freezing pool of water to raise money for the Breast Cancer Society of Canada.
“It’s funny, I don’t go in the pool in the summer and now I’m doing this,” fourth-year architecture – project and facility management student Jeremy Schoonderwoerd said following his jump.
Every year the event, held by Conestoga Students Inc., gives students the opportunity to have some fun by sporting wacky costumes and doing something they normally wouldn’t do, all while supporting a good cause.
Jessica Froll, a first-year personal support worker student, embraced both sides of this, first with her eye-catching female Batman costume, as well as with her touching reason for taking part.
“I’m doing the plunge because my grandma is a two-time survivor (of breast cancer) and I want to support my family.”
Second-year radio broadcast student Alex Martin had a similar costume idea as Froll, dressing as the more traditional male version of Batman who, like the superhero, just wanted to help out.
“I’m doing this because it’s a good cause and you have to fight the fights that need fighting and cancer is one of those,” Martin said in his best Batman voice.
Before the students began their jumps, the crowd’s energy was palpable, with both excited and nervous vibes.
First-year general arts and science – health option student Jessica Boudreau, who was doing the plunge because she knows people affected by breast cancer, embodied the emotions best as she stood in line awaiting her turn. “I have the heebie-jeebies right now.”
However, like most of the students who participated, Boudreau said she “loved it and would do it again, any day.”
Last year the Polar Plunge had 38 jumpers and raised $6,500 for breast cancer research.
The total figure for this year will not be known until mid-March, when all sponsorship money and donations are in.