About a dozen members of the Atlantic Fire Department took the “Plunge for Landon,” Sunday evening. Led by their Chief, Mark McNees, the crew jumped into a large icy water-filled container, but not before the Chief challenged others to do the same. (Video link at https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=561754383921718&set=vb.323655237731635&type=2&theater¬if_t=notify_me )
Atlantic Firefighters “Plungin’ and Lungin’ for Landon.
McNees said “We were challenged by the Atlantic Police Department [to take the plunge], and I’ll be doggoned if we’re gonna get beat by them. We’re ‘Lungin’ and Plungin’ for Landon. We challenge the Harlan and Audubon Fire Department to do the same.” Harlan Fire Chief Roger Bissen later posted a video on Harlan Fire and Rescue’s Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pages/Harlan-Fire-and-Rescue/246119622074074, of 30 members of his department accepting the challenge, and issued a challenge to the Avoca, Denison and Grinnell Fire Departments to take the plunge as well.
Fire Chief Mark McNees shakes off the cold with a smile. (Ric Hanson/photos)
Organizers of the Facebook-based Plunge for Landon fundraiser said they have lost count of how many people have posted videos of themselves taking a dive for Landon Shaw, a Tarkio, MO., infant who was diagnosed in late February with a rare form of cancer. People are jumping in, from chilly farm ponds north of Kansas City to the Gulf of Mexico and the Potomac River in Washington, D.C.
Before they jump into the water, participants record themselves challenging three other people to do the same, with monetary pledges for each person who completes the challenge. The effort had raised more than $30,000 by Friday evening, only five days after notice of the fundraiser was first posted on the popular social networking site. Entire schools, police departments and businesses around the region have posted videos of participants taking the plunge.
Landon was 4 months old on Feb. 23 when his parents took him to Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City to find out why he was vomiting and losing weight. Doctors found a tumor on his left kidney, which they removed, and later discovered a large mass on his brain. Landon did make it through, and his condition improved enough that on April 1st, Alyssa Shaw and her husband, Brandon, were able to bring their baby home.
But the child still has a long road ahead, with chemotherapy sessions, MRIs and CT scans. And the family is on Medicaid, Shaw said, which isn’t nearly enough to cover medical bills that are just starting to arrive.
The plunge group’s Facebook page had over 20,000 members Sunday evening, more than seven times the number of people who live in the small farming community of Tarkio, two hours north of Kansas City.
(Ric Hanson/with A-P content added)