People across US, abroad take plunge for infant battling cancer - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

UPDATE

People across US, abroad take plunge for infant battling cancer

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, an infant from Tarkio, MO, who was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. 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, an infant from Tarkio, MO, who was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer.
KANSAS CITY, KS (KCTV/AP) -

An effort to help the family of a 5-month-old Missouri boy with cancer has inspired thousands of people across the U.S. and even abroad to take a plunge into cold bodies of water.

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, an infant from Tarkio, MO, 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, DC. You can find more on the Plunge for Landon page at this link.

"I can't believe how viral this is going," said Alyssa Shaw, Landon's mom. "My son has been such an inspiration to everybody and opened up people's eyes that you can't take life for granted."

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.

And it continues to grow no matter how intimidating the cold water may look.

"When they brought it to my attention I thought, 'what a great way to get involved in the community' so the challenge was put out there," said Lt. William Akin with the Clay County Sheriff's Department.

Kearney police, Clay County sheriff's deputies and friends took the plunge Monday morning while challenging their own sheriff.

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's heart stopped during an operation to remove the brain tumor, his mother said, and he lost so much blood that doctors gave the family little hope their baby would survive.

"The surgeons came into the room and said they would be surprised if he made it through the night," Shaw said.

Landon did make it through, and his condition improved enough that on April 1, 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. Despite his progress, Landon's mother said he is back in the hospital after he spiked a fever and has some mouth sores. The family is getting him antibiotics and medicine to control the pain.

His father, Brandon Shaw, missed a lot of work and the expenses began piling up. And the family is on Medicaid, Shaw said, which isn't nearly enough to cover medical bills that are just starting to arrive. Medicaid is the government program that provides healthcare coverage for lower-income Americans.

The plunge group's Facebook page had more than 11,700 members Friday, seven times the number of people who live in the small farming community of Tarkio, two hours north of Kansas City.

Lydia Hurst, who helps maintain the group's page, said participants include a soldier in Afghanistan, and people in Germany, South Korea, Spain and Ireland.

Ty Rowton, also known as the red tight-wearing Kansas City Chiefs football team super fan "X-Factor," dove into a pond near Bonner Springs, KS, on Friday after being challenged by several people he didn't know. In turn, he challenged the Kansas City Royals baseball team, the Chiefs and all their fans to also chip in to help baby Landon.

Hurst took her own plunge Tuesday morning in sub-freezing temperatures. Like most people she knows who did their own plunges, she said she never would have jumped into a frigid farm pond had it not been for the thought of the little boy.

"My legs got numb faster than I thought they would," she said. "It was shocking. I went home and showered and didn't get warm until about noon that day."

KCTV5 even spoke to the Hill family in the Dominica, an island nation south-southeast of Guadeloupe in the Caribbean Sea who don't know Landon, but accepted the challenge.

"I thought it was a very creative way to use social media to get people involved," said Christy Hill.

"It's a positive spin on a tough situation," said her husband Steve Hill.

Residents of the former college town of roughly 1,600 also have been holding bake sales and fundraising suppers - popular affairs in rural Bible Belt communities - to help the family pay for travel and other expenses. But the plunge drive has brought in the bulk of donations.

A YouTube video shows U.S. Rep. Sam Graves, a lifelong Tarkio resident, in a suit and tie as he dove head-first into the Potomac in Washington on Wednesday. He challenged several Republican leaders, both nationally and in Missouri, to take the plunge.

Lora Cummins, a former Tarkio resident who is an ordained minister and beach body coach in Port Aransas, TX, accepted the challenge of some of her ex-classmates in the town and jumped into the Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday.

"All of us are so fortunate to have grown up there and forged lifelong bonds," she said. "Facebook has brought us all back together."

Donations and get-well cards can be mailed to:

Flower Mill
606 Main St.
Tarkio, MO, 64491

Landon's PayPal account is teamlandon102113@outlook.com.

Copyright 2014 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) and The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • East Texas NewsMore>>

  • Lufkin's Community Food Drive built on woman's legacy

    Lufkin's Community Food Drive built on woman's legacy

    Saturday, November 18 2017 9:28 PM EST2017-11-19 02:28:07 GMT
    Source: KTRE StaffSource: KTRE Staff
    The Community Food Drive in Lufkin is special to some because of the large amount of people it brings together from all walks of life.  "It's just like so many different people, very diverse," said volunteer, Priscilla Gonzalez. "It's just kind of cool to see all these people coming together to do one thing." For others, like Keith Kennedy, it's all about the service being provided to the greater community. "They're in miracle territory,...More >>
    The Community Food Drive in Lufkin is special to some because of the large amount of people it brings together from all walks of life.  "It's just like so many different people, very diverse," said volunteer, Priscilla Gonzalez. "It's just kind of cool to see all these people coming together to do one thing." For others, like Keith Kennedy, it's all about the service being provided to the greater community. "They're in miracle territory,...More >>
  • East Texas seasonal hires may have helped lower statewide unemployment rate

    East Texas seasonal hires may have helped lower statewide unemployment rate

    Friday, November 17 2017 7:26 PM EST2017-11-18 00:26:00 GMT

    According to the Texas Workforce Commission, unemployment rate has fallen to a 3.9 percent since  In East Texas some holiday job openings have helped that percentage grow.  During March Target finished a 3.5 million dollar remodel that brought in new product lines. “We've actually added new positions and we've been able to accommodate additional hires because our business has escalated since then,” said store team leader, Kris Hoephner. This addition to the Ta...

    More >>

    According to the Texas Workforce Commission, unemployment rate has fallen to a 3.9 percent since  In East Texas some holiday job openings have helped that percentage grow.  During March Target finished a 3.5 million dollar remodel that brought in new product lines. “We've actually added new positions and we've been able to accommodate additional hires because our business has escalated since then,” said store team leader, Kris Hoephner. This addition to the Ta...

    More >>
  • Lufkin STEM program plant trees at local schools

    Lufkin STEM program plant trees at local schools

    Friday, November 17 2017 7:25 PM EST2017-11-18 00:25:00 GMT
    Source: KTRESource: KTRE

    The 7th grade, STEM program from Lufkin joined up with some of the senior STEM students and spent their Friday, morning, planting trees at Burley Primary and Slack Elementary Schools. 

    More >>

    The 7th grade, STEM program from Lufkin joined up with some of the senior STEM students and spent their Friday, morning, planting trees at Burley Primary and Slack Elementary Schools. 

    More >>
Powered by Frankly