Off the plank: Polar Pig raises $10,000 for hospiceHospice help proved “invaluable” to Jamestown resident Curt Grudniewski when his mother died 23 years ago. His mother, Ruth, was diagnosed with esophageal cancer and died at her home in South Dakota. There, hospice workers bathed her, cared for her and helped her with her medications, Grudniewski said. Plus, the service helped his family grieve too.
Hospice help proved “invaluable” to Jamestown resident Curt Grudniewski when his mother died 23 years ago.
His mother, Ruth, was diagnosed with esophageal cancer and died at her home in South Dakota. There, hospice workers bathed her, cared for her and helped her with her medications, Grudniewski said. Plus, the service helped his family grieve too.
So Grudniewski jumped from a pirate ship into a pool of water Saturday, in memory of his mother and to support the hospice program at Jamestown Hospital.
“I would gladly jump in any water, if that’s what hospice needed,” he said.
Temperatures hovered around 5 degrees below zero Saturday, but like Grudniewski, about 15 other individuals jumped into the 100-gallon pool as part of the Fourth Annual “Walk the Plank” Polar Pig Splash at Stutsman Harley-Davidson.
Organizer and Director of the Jamestown HOG (Harley Owners Group) Chapter Don Wegner, said the event raised about $10,000 — short of its $13,000 goal but on par with how much it raised last year.
The money comes from entry fees as well as a silent auction and chili feed sponsored by District 8 ABATE.
The funds support the day-to-day operations of the hospice program, said Jan Barnes, Jamestown Hospital Foundation director. Like the hospice program Grudniewski experienced, the hospice program at Jamestown Hospital serves terminally ill patients. Hospice serves about 12 people a month, Barnes said, and their care is typically given in their home or nursing home.
Audience members huddled in the cold Saturday, but saved their energy to cheer for jumpers like “Queen of Hearts” Trisha Jungels of Jamestown Hospital as well as “Groper” Gary Olson and “Bagger Vance” Kent Fronk of El Zagal clowns.
To walk the plank, participants or groups had to raise at least $100.
Polar Pig Splash also left donation jars at bars, gas stations and other businesses throughout the area. Some were successful, with personal checks for up to $100. Others fell victim to thievery, Wegner said.
“It’s pretty sad when someone has to steal out of a charity jar,” he said.
One of the jars with the best response was Neighborhood Grocery. Two young women from the store, Sara Mattson and Ashley Syverson, walked the plank for hospice. Wegner said the two jump in the water every year.
For more information on the fundraiser, contact Wegner at 320-7866. For more information on hospice, contact Jamestown Hospital at 252-1050.
Sun reporter Katie Ryan can be reached at 701-952-8454 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org