The Purple Plunge held by Eastern Michigan University’s Muslim Student Association Relay for Life Team resulted in a $300 donation to the American Cancer Society.
The fundraising polar plunge event took place in the smaller lake near Bob’s Lake House in University Park on Jan. 13 from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Relay for Life is a fundraising event for the American Cancer Society that will be given by the university on April 16, 2016.
There were tables set up in the lobby of the Student Center on Monday and Tuesday that week between 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. for participants to register in advance.
“Many passersby expressed interest in participating in the Purple Plunge,” MSA Relay for Life Captain and post-masters student for educational leadership, Halimah Ali Al-Qadi said.
She said no one preregistered.
There were a total of six registered plungers at the event including a faculty lecturer of the Geography and Geology Department Ping Zhou, Wayne State MSA president Amer Odeh, EMU MSA president Mohamed Nouadir, and Al-Qadi, herself.
Al-Qadi said that she was disappointed that more of the university community, students and staff, did not come participate in the event.
“I would have loved to have seen the area around Bob's Lake House filled with spectators and participants to raise money for this great cause, the fight against cancer,” she said.
Because it was a charity event, The Huron Valley Ambulance EMS unit and Washtenaw County Sheriff's Department Dive Team volunteered their services and were willing to assist.
“Although the number of participants was much lower than expected, all the volunteers from the Huron Valley EMS and the Washtenaw County Sheriff's Dive Team were onsite to help and cheer on the participants,” Al-Qadi said. “In addition, there were some staff from the REC/IM and passersbys who were there to encourage participants.”
The event ended early at 3:00 p.m. after the plungers were done. The plungers enjoyed a warm-up area and hot coffee provided by Biggby Coffee and the leftover hot drinks were given to students who were passing by.
The Dive Team and EMS unit returned to their daily routine at that time.
“We appreciate their great effort and support for this event,” Al-Qadi said.
The event planning and logistics to have the Huron Valley EMS unit and Washtenaw County Sheriff Dive Team was challenging to Al-Qadi.
“The units do incur a great expense to come out for these events, so there are requirements to be fulfilled in order for these professionals to volunteer their time and expertise for an event. However, they are more than willing to help,” she said.
For MSA’s Relay For Life Team to have the Dive Team and Huron Valley EMS unit participate, they had to have proof of liability insurance for the event and a waiver that must be signed by every participant in preparation, along with planning the event months in advance in order for other volunteers, such as the dive team, to find volunteers.
“Since this was my first time organizing this kind of an event, I had to start from scratch,” Al-Qadi said. “It took a lot of work to coordinate and ensure that all the safety precautions were in place for the event. The most expensive and difficult university requirement to fulfill was obtaining liability insurance for the event. Most insurance companies do not want to cover events associated with water. One of our members took on the expense of paying for the insurance.”
The goal for Purple Plunge by MSA’s Relay for Life Team was to raise $2,000 as a donation to the American Cancer Society as well as to engage the community in a discussion about cancer, and to raise the funds to fight it through the Islam concept of “Ihsan," which means adding the dimension of depth to ones’ belief. The linguistic translation of this is, “doing the best in anything you do.”
Despite not reaching their $2,000 goal or their community involvement goal, the $300 amount raised by MSA will still help the American Cancer Society to help those affected by cancer in every community.
“Obviously, more participants would have made it possible for us, as a team, and for EMU, a community of Relay for Life teams, to contribute more towards the fight against cancer. However, this was the first year for this event by MSA, and everything I have learned this year will be recorded for future organizers of the event.”
The next MSA Relay for Life event will be Feb. 8, 2016 in the Student Center Ballroom. The event is entitled, "I Believe...” This will be an awareness event where attendees can share thoughts and opinions in a respectful manner on weighty topics. There will be a requested voluntary donation of $5 and all funds raised will be donated to American Cancer Society through Relay for Life.