The Saint Mary’s University community came together on Feb. 12 to support a young boy and his family by dedicating this year’s eighth annual Cardinal Plunge to the boy’s medical expenses.
Each year, the Cardinal Plunge is put together by the Saint Mary’s Future Alumni Committee, and aims to raise money for someone within the Saint Mary’s community. This year, proceeds from the event, which also included a silent auction, were given to 3-year-old Jack Cassidy and his family to help with medical expenses. Jack’s father, Neil Cassidy, is the head coach of the Saint Mary’s women’s soccer team. “We’re looking forward to seeing everyone jump. We’re just really blessed with how it’s been put on. It’s just special,” he said as the family waited for the jumping to begin.
The Cassidy family found out last year that Jack had a tumor on his jaw and would need to undergo chemotherapy and steroid injections to treat it. He was diagnosed with Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis (LCH). Besides helping to cover Jack’s medical expenses, the family wants to use some of the funds to buy new toys for the Mayo Clinic’s pediatric floor.
The Cassidy Family poses for a picture after their jump
The Cassidy family spent time together in the Saint Mary’s Recreational Athletic Center prior to their own jump into the pool. Their three children, including Jack, could be seen running around the athletic track, smiling and laughing. “We’re really excited. It’s really nice of everybody to do this for Jack and our family. It should be a fun time,” said Mrs. Cassidy.
Allison Borawski, ‘18, is a member of the Future Alumni Committee and was busy checking participants in at the start of the plunge. “It’s really exciting. We have been planning this for a while so the fact that the day is finally here is really exciting and we’re hoping everything goes smoothly. So far so good!” she said.
The Cardinal Plunge is traditionally held at Lake Winona, but due to the shortage of ice on the lake it was moved onto campus. Participants jumped into the Jul Gernes Pool this year instead. Octavia Brown, who works with the First Generation Initiative at Saint Mary’s, was one of the first to jump in. “It was a lot of fun. I had a great time,” she said. Brown said that her favorite part of the event was “seeing the family and seeing the amount of support that the university has shown them.”
Nicolette Richmond (left) and Octavia Brown smile for a photo after their jump.
The support from this event will hopefully help Jack and his family with not only their medical expenses, but in knowing that there is a community who is looking out for them. The joy the day brought the Cassidy kids was palpable as Jack’s sister announced after drying off, “I want to jump again!”