Ice-cool women rise to challenge

00:05, Jul 18 2014
Sophie Stammers, Renee Paterson and Emma Pilcher
TAKING THE CHALLENGE: Marlborough women, from left, Sophie Stammers, Renee Paterson and Emma Pilcher get half a tonne of ice dropped on them to raise money for the Cancer Society.

Half a tonne of ice, a fire crew and three brave women saw the Renwick community dig deep this week, raising just over $1000 for the Marlborough Cancer Society.

Woodbourne Tavern barmaid Sophie Stammers said what started as a conversation at work on Monday night turned into a community event within 24 hours.

She and workmate Emma Pilcher were nominated to take on the Ice Challenge, a social media craze which encourages people to have a bucket of ice water tipped over them, or donate $100 to a cancer charity.

Stammers said the pair believed the challenge had started to become too far removed from the cause, with people adding alcohol and nudity to the mix.

There had also been some negative feedback around the challenge after it proved fatal for a Northland man on July 5. Willis Tepania, 40, died about 12 hours after completing the challenge, when he also consumed a bottle of bourbon, prompting the girls not to consume any alcohol before or after the challenge.

"Our main focus was to bring it back to the reason we are doing it - to raise awareness and donations for cancer," she said.


Differing opinions of the challenge made them slightly more nervous, but they were prepared with warm towels and showers straight afterwards, Stammers said.

"We didn't feel in any type of danger."

The pair got chatting to some G H Foster Contractors who had been staying in Renwick and decided to come on board, donating a digger for the event.

The contractors then spoke to Talley's, who supplied a trailer load of ice.

It was poured over the pair, and friend Renee Paterson, using the digger in the front carpark of the tavern on Tuesday night.

"It's just quite amazing, within 24 hours we just pulled it all together, I'm just so amazed that so many people got involved," she said.

The Renwick Volunteer Fire Brigade also helped out, spraying the girls with water as the ice was dropped. Spectators were encouraged to donate for the cause, but there was no pressure, as it was also about raising awareness, Stammers said.

Thanks to donations from Renwick people and businesses, the three were able to donate $1090 to Marlborough Cancer Society yesterday.

University of Otago school of physical education associate professor Chris Button has researched how humans respond when suddenly immersed in cold water.

While the ice-water challenge could be risky for those with existing heart problems, for most people it would probably not be a problem, he said.