Park Rapids Enterprise

Purple Plungers jump for a ice cold good cause
By Kevin Cederstrom on Feb 16, 2017

For the 12th straight year Laura Powers joined other brave souls and took the Purple Plunge into the frigid waters of 11th Crow Wing Lake. The Akeley native and current Maple Grove resident dressed as a scarecrow and was the final jumper of 35 participants. She always jumps last and with this year's costume she wanted to "scare away cancer."
Powers has participated in Audrey's Purple Dream each of the 12 years and jumping into a lake in the middle of February doesn't get any easier.
"It's terrifying," she said prior to taking the plunge. "I'm scared every single year. I wish I was jumping into a bubble bath."
She does it in memory of Audrey Faye Pidde, a lifelong resident of Akeley, who died of cancer in 2005. Powers continues to participate in the Purple Plunge each year because she said Audrey inspired her to be a hospice volunteer. Powers also jumped this year for a co-worker who has cancer. Powers said she keeps coming back to her hometown because it's for a great cause. "It's a great event in a small town and the community really comes together. It's a great thing."
Roger Geimer of Akeley is a veteran of the Purple Plunge. He plunged for three years and now is a volunteer helping others make their way in and quickly out of the water. He speaks from experience and says from jumping in until getting out and into the warming trailer is only about 30 seconds. But it's an awfully cold 30 seconds.
"The whole build up to jumping is the worst," Geimer said. "It's the mindset of going in that gets to you. Then you hot-foot it into the fishhouse."
This year's Purple Plunge, with 35 participants, raised over $7,500.
Audrey's Purple Dream also consists of a fishing contest and ice racing. Event organizer Shannah Geimer reported with donations still coming in Audrey's Purple Dream raised about $23,500.
The event started in 2005 when Audrey was battling cancer and one of her last wishes was to go to Alaska. Audrey had many friends and family members who helped make the original Purple Dream happen. The event raised almost $10,000 to send Audrey to Alaska. Unfortunately, the cancer didn't give Audrey enough time to realize her dream, but the money raised did make a huge impact on the last few weeks of Audrey's life. It enabled her to pay medical bills and other expenses, giving her some peace of mind. The tradition of raising money to help local individuals and families battling cancer continues.
Roger Allen lives on Ham Lake near Akeley and was out Saturday fishing in the contest with family and friends. He was diagnosed with throat cancer two years ago and went through two surgeries and six weeks of chemotherapy. Allen finished radiation treatment in 2015 and appreciates what Audrey's Purple Dream does for families like his. He's happy to participate in the annual fundraiser that brings the community together.
"We have our mailman out here; friends, neighbors," he pointed out during the fishing contest. "It's organized and it's fun. That's what it's all about. This is our neighborhood, so it's nice."
Allen said it's important to him and others involved in the event that the money raised stays here.
"I'm living proof the money stays in the neighborhood."
The fishing contest had record breaking 377 participants. Out of the 309 fish registered, the biggest was a 2 pound-5 ounce walleye caught by John Kramer of Akeley. The 10th largest fish was caught by Justin Schroeder of Nevis. It was a 11.5 oz rock bass and Schroeder won $1,000.
The Paint the Town Purple Contest winners were:
1st Place - Chris Powers and Chelsea Buck
2nd Place - Zappy's CafeRT
3rd Place - T&M Express
The Purple Plunge and record 35 plungers raised $7,524. The child who raised the most money was Sam Hitchcock with $838.10. The adult team who raised the most were: Lorrie Robbins, Karly George, Steve and Alyssa DeWitt with a total of $1,579.65 raised.
The fan favorite who took home the Purple Plunger award was Morgan Monroe.
The Polaris Ranger Winner was John Erickson of Laporte. The $1,000 Button Prize Winner was Justin Beckner of Big Fork. The Mystery Box Winner was Joel Mensch of Walker.


Northwoods Press


 


staff reports pilotnews@pilotindependent.com | Posted: Wednesday, February 12, 2014 9:23 am

APD 2014..

Audrey’s Purple Dream raises $$$s to support local cancer patients, families

The ninth annual Audrey’s Purple Dream (APD) Fishing Tournament and Purple Plunge, held Saturday on 11th Crow Wing Lake in Akeley, attracted 307 anglers — the most ever — and 13 “Purple Plungers.”

The two events raised funds (totals not available by press time) that will be used to support local cancer patients and their families in their battle with cancer.

Winning first place in the fishing tournament was Doug Kriewall. Taking third place and the $1,000 cash prize was Jack Tesch.

Greg Moore of Akeley won the top raffle price of $900, and Harry Lecy, also of Akeley, won the gun raffle. Michelle Daily of Park Rapids won the “mystery box,” filled with more than $600 worth of prizes.

A full list of raffle winners and fishing contest winners will be posted later this week on the website, www.audreyspurpledream.com.

APD is dedicated to the memory of longtime Akeley resident Audrey Faye Pidde, who lost her valiant fight against cancer in 2005. Every year since, family members and friends have come together to raise funds to help others in their fights against cancer.

APD volunteers extend their heartfelt thanks to all area businesses that donated to the cause. Special thanks go to Reeds Family Outdoor Outfitters of Walker for being the tournament’s No. 1 fishing tournament prize sponsor.

 


APD 2013..

Audrey’s Purple Dream is ‘another record breaker’
Akeley’s Answer to Cancer – Audrey’s Purple Dream – raised $18,700, a record setter for the 8th annual fishing tournament and Purple Plunge held Saturday on 11th Crow Wing.
By: Jean Ruzicka, Park Rapids Enterprise

Akeley’s Answer to Cancer – Audrey’s Purple Dream – raised $18,700, a record setter for the 8th annual fishing tournament and Purple Plunge held Saturday on 11th Crow Wing.

Funds were raised through the fishing tourney, drawing 269 fisher folk, and the plunge into the frigid waters, 20 taking the daring dip to bring in $7,041. Rita Holland, who did not take the dive this year due to medical reasons, raised nearly $2,200 for the fundraiser held to help those battling cancer.

Additional funds were raised through button and merchandise sales as well as raffles – including a mystery bag, Munchkin Mansion, money bag and mini chopper.

Dinner followed at the Akeley VFW with $1 donated for each plate of food sold.

Audrey's Purple Dream is dedicated to the memory of Audrey Faye Pidde, a lifelong resident of Akeley who died in 2005 after a battle with cancer.

The event’s founder, Melissa “Nib” Niblick, organized the community fundraiser in honor of her friend. One of Pidde’s wishes had been to travel to Alaska; Niblick took on the role of fundraiser to fulfill the dream.

Pidde succumbed to cancer before she could make the journey, and Niblick died of cancer in 2009, but the “dream” lives on.

To date, more than 40 people have been gifted with a total of $37,000 since 2006



APD 2013..

Kristina Tooker, 15, of Akeley, whose late father Mark was a recipient of APD aid, raised funds on the ice with her hula hoop performances. “Audrey’s Purple Dream was there for him,” she said of the bed he received. “It was great support.” (Jean Ruzicka / Enterprise)


APD 2013..



Guthrie woman benefits from Audrey’s dream

 The 8th annual Audrey’s Purple Dream – Akeley’s answer to cancer – will be held Saturday, Feb. 9 on 11th Crow Wing Lake.

By: Jean Ruzicka, Park Rapids Enterprise

The 8th annual Audrey’s Purple Dream – Akeley’s answer to cancer – will be held Saturday, Feb. 9 on 11th Crow Wing Lake.

Proceeds from the event, that includes a fishing tourney and a plunge by daring divers into 11th Crow Wing Lake, benefit area residents whose lives have been impacted by cancer.

Audrey’s Purple Dream is dedicated to the memory of Audrey Faye Pidde, a lifelong resident of Akeley who died in March 2005 after a battle with cancer.

The event’s founder, Melissa ‘Nib’ Niblick, organized the community fundraiser in honor of her friend. One of Pidde’s wishes had been to travel to Alaska; Niblick took on the role of fundraiser to fulfill the dream.

Pidde succumbed to cancer before she could make the journey, and Niblick died of cancer in 2009, but the “dream” lives on.

To date, more than 40 people have been gifted with a total of $37,000 since 2006, Shannah Geimer, Pidde’s daughter, reports.

The circumstances have ranged from a man diagnosed with a terminal illness who wanted to spend his last days with his young son to flying grandparents in from out of state to see their granddaughter, a cancer survivor, graduate.

Another gift helped with the purchase of a vehicle to get to and from treatments. Funds have also been used toward medical expenses, to build a wheelchair ramp or taking a vacation to visit family members for the last time.

Overwhelmed by generosity

Natascha Smrekar, 45, of Guthrie, diagnosed with sarcoma last fall, was “flattered and stunned” when asked if she would like to be a recipient by her co-workers, Andrea Thelin and Kellie Smith, Pidde’s neice, of Akeley.

Smrekar was aware of Audrey’s Purple Dream, “but it never occurred to me” that she would one day become a beneficiary.

“I was speechless,” she said of the monetary “no-strings-attached” gift.

The wife and mother of two who works as an interventionist at the Laporte School, began experiencing hip pain while training for a half-marathon in July.

An x-ray showed nothing so she headed off to the Boundary Waters with pals, “popping Ibuprofen” to combat persistent pain.

Returning home, she headed back to the clinic, requesting physical therapy as a possible solution.

“There’s something more going on here,” the therapist told her, recommending an MRI. Sept. 12, she learned of a fracture in her femur, which came as “no surprise.” She also learned of a mass near a gluteal muscle, also no surprise. “I felt like I was sitting on a golf ball.”

A chest x-ray revealed a mass in the lung. “If a sarcoma metastasizes, it often shows up in the lungs,” Smrekar would learn.

“I don’t want to touch this,” her doctor told her of the lung x-ray, referring Smrekar to the “experts” at the Mayo Clinic.

Oct. 1 Smrekar learned of her the diagnosis and that she would be treated for Ewing’s sarcoma, an aggressive form.

“Sarcoma typically hits juveniles. The odds of survival are against me,” she said of her prognosis of less than 25 percent. “But I’m hoping to be the one in four. I’m still going for the cure.”

After her first round of chemo, she broke her leg, which exacerbated the therapy process. A hematoma developed, another complication.

From the beginning, husband Jay and Natascha have been upfront with their children, son Jesse, 13, and daughter Tatiana, 15.

“I hope you don’t have to do chemo,” her son told her.

“Jesse, I will be lucky if I get to do chemo,” she told him. Smrekar has undergone three to date.

Meanwhile, the treatments in the Twin Cities were creating chaos on the home front.

The owner of a Christmas tree farm would be in the metro during a key point in the season.

She and Jay discussed their options. For many area families, the farm had become part of their holiday tradition, replete with horse-drawn sleigh rides and cookies and cider. And the wreaths she created each year might be abandoned.

But sleigh master Andy Branham of Turtle River “took it upon himself to organize the volunteers and run the farm.

“The community enveloped us with support,” surprising the two metro transplants who’d never experienced this type of outreach.

The holiday custom continued in the county’s northern realm.

While the Smrekars are “blessed” to have good health insurance, they still face deductibles, hotel bills, travel costs and other contingencies.

“We have been overwhelmed by the generosity of people, their prayers, their thoughtfulness. We feel so blessed. I so hope, when it’s all said and done, that I can repay, as generously and giving as people have been to me.

“It’s one of the beautiful things about this area. People have surrounded us with love and support.”

Area residents whose lives have been impacted by cancer may request assistance by contacting First National Bank-Akeley and request an application for assistance or download forms at www.audreyspurple dream.com.

Donations may be sent to Walker Area Foundation with APD in the memo line, PO Box 272, Akeley, MN 56433.


Icecapades info

Audrey’s Purple Dream fishing tournament registration will be held from 10 a.m. to noon with the tourney held from noon to 3 p.m.

A complete list of rules is available on the Audrey’s Purple Dream website.

Purple Plunge registration (for the daring willing to take a dip in the lake) begins at 12:30 p.m. in the tent on the lake. The plunge begins at 2 p.m.

Raffle tickets and merchandise will be for sale in the tent from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The $2 buttons enters names into a drawing for an $800 grand prize. Check out the website for a complete list of prizes to be awarded.

Hot food will be served at the Akeley VFW beginning at 4 p.m., with tournament awards and prizes presented at 4:30 p.m. at the VFW. Button raffle drawings begin at 6 p.m.

Live music will entertain from 8 p.m. to midnight.

Audrey’s Purple Dream buttons are available at several Akeley area businesses and from members of the “Dream Team.” The $2 purchase is entry into a drawing for prizes.


Published February 16, 2011, 01:00 PM

Record number attends Akeley fishing tourney

Akeley’s Answer to Cancer, Audrey’s Purple Dream, drew a record number of fisherfolk – 239 dropped lines – and the highest total donations to date for the Purple Plunge – the daring sea creatures raising $7,605.

By: Jean Ruzicka, Park Rapids Enterprise

Akeley’s Answer to Cancer, Audrey’s Purple Dream, drew a record number of fisherfolk – 239 dropped lines – and the highest total donations to date for the Purple Plunge – the daring sea creatures raising $7,605.

A grand total of $14,275 was raised at the 6th annual event held Saturday on 11th Crow Wing Lake. Proceeds are disbursed to area residents battling cancer, “so they can live out a dream.”

Twenty-five took the plunge, balmy weather contributing to the turnout. Ten children jumped in, with Kaia Dunham, 8, the youngest.

Plunger Rita Holland raised the most money, $3,071, breaking a previous record set by Steve Kacienda, who brought in $3,060 in 2005.

Fans’ Favorite Award was claimed by Laura Powers, who hopped in wearing alpine apparel.

The top three fishing tourney winners were Neil Lockwood, first, who claimed a Clam Kenie fish house; Josh Surber, a Tom Tom GPS, and Jerry Ammerman, $1,000 cash.

The grand prize winners of the 42-inch flat screen TV were Duane and Cina Pidde.

A complete list of button prize and fishing tournament winners can be found on the Audrey’s Purple Dream website by week’s end.


The big chill

 Published February 15, 2012, 01:00 PM

By: Jean Ruzicka, Park Rapids Enterprise

Akeley’s 7th annual Answer to Cancer – Audrey’s Purple Dream – brought “plungers” and fisher folk out in number Saturday, raising a record $17,500. Funds are used to assist cancer victims, the event honoring the late Audrey Pidde. The mercury was at about 10 degrees, with a blustery wind coming from the north, when the 23 Purple Plungers dove in.

 

Rita Holland of Park Rapids was once again the top fundraiser, adding $4,040 to the coffers, the Purple Plunge raising $8,703. The event drew 232 fishermen and women out on the ice.

Sierra Monroe takes the polar plunge.


Published February 04, 2012, 11:50 AM

Akeley’s ‘answer to cancer’ is Feb.11

 

Audrey’s Purple Dream – Akeley’s “answer to cancer” – is set for Saturday, Feb. 11 on 11th Crow Wing Lake.

A wide range of events fill the day, starting with a pancake breakfast from 8 to 10 a.m. at the sponsored Akeley United Methodist Church, sponsored by Boy Scout Troop 56 of Nevis.

Fishing tournament registration is from 10 a.m. to noon and the tournament runs from noon to 3 p.m.

Hot food and beverages will be available on the ice from the Hubbard County Explorers from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Raffle tickets and merchandise will be for sale from noon to 2 p.m.

Registration for the Purple Plunge is at 12:30 p.m., with the plunge beginning at 2 p.m.

Following the tournament, hot food will be served at the Akeley VFW, where raffle tickets and merchandise will be on sale from 4 to 6 p.m..

Fishing tourney prizes and awards will be presented at 4:30 p.m. Button raffle drawings begin at 6 p.m.

Nate’s Fish will provide live music at the VFW from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m..

Audrey’s Purple Dream is dedicated to the memory of Audrey Faye Pidde, a life long resident of Akeley. She passed away March 24, 2005 after a battle against cancer.

The event’s founder, Melissa ‘Nib’ Niblick succumbed to cancer in 2009. Niblick organized the community fundraiser in 2005 in honor of her friend and cancer victim Audrey Pidde. One of Pidde’s wishes had been to travel to Alaska. Niblick took on the role of fundraiser to fulfill the dream.

Pidde succumbed to cancer before she could make the journey, but the “dream” lives on.

Area residents whose lives have been impacted by cancer may request assistance by contacting First National Bank-Akeley and request an application for assistance.

For more information, go to www.audreyspurpledream.

com.

Audrey’s Purple Dream buttons are available at several Akeley area businesses and from members of the “Dream Team.” The $2 purchase is entry into a drawing for prizes.

 

 


For More Information Contact
Shannah at 218-252-9993
or Email US @ contactus@audreyspurpledream.com
.

Audrey's Purple Dream
PO Box 272
Akeley, MN 56433

© 2016 by Audrey's Purple Dream Foundation. All rights reserved.

Contact Webmaster @ webmaster@audreyspurpledream.com

APD 201