Ice bucket worth cold, hard cash for charity

A viral ice water charity campaign sweeping the country has now infected the New Plymouth District Council.

On Tuesday, outspoken councillor Murray Chong took the "ice water challenge", dousing himself in ice-cold water and posting a video of the experience on his Facebook page.

He then challenged Mayor Andrew Judd and councillors John McLeod, Shaun Biesiek and Keith Allum to do the same.

Those who do take the invitation are supposed to pay $10 to a cancer charity while those who are challenged and don't do it are asked to pay $100.

"At the end of the day they don't really have to do it," Chong said.

"It's totally up to the individual. It's a great cause and having a bit of water thrown over your head is nothing compared to what you go through in chemotherapy."

The challenge is not without controversy. On July 7, Northlander Willis Tepania, 40, died after going into cardiac arrest following the challenge, though he had allegedly also consumed a bottle of bourbon after his dousing.

Medical professionals have also warned the icy water ordeal can be potentially fatal, even without alcohol.

Chong said he had not consumed any alcohol during his challenge and had not feared for his life.

"At the end of the day I have years of experience jumping into cold water. There are a couple of people I would never nominate like the elderly or sick people who couldn't handle it," he said.

So far, of the councillors challenged only Mayor Judd has indicated he might be willing to get soaked and then only if Taranaki Daily News editor Roy Pilott did it as well. Pilott has accepted the challenge. A time and place have yet to be finalised.

Lynne St. Clair-Chapman of the Cancer Society of New Zealand said the viral craze had increased the Cancer Society's coffers by $185,000, with $44,000 coming from within the Central Districts area, of which Taranaki is a part.

The Cancer Society advised participants to avoid alcohol, and the society had posted a link to a YouTube video on its Facebook page explaining the dangers associated with the challenge, and who could do it safely.

Jenny Henderson of the Cancer Society's Taranaki Centre said the ice challenge had resulted in 15 donations so far, totalling $440.

She said donations can be handed in at the TSB Cancer Support Centre on 71 Lorna St in New Plymouth, or donors could call the centre on (06) 757 3006 for instructions on bank deposits.

Taranaki Daily News