MANITOWOC – Manitowoc area officials were told to take a jump in the lake, but all for a good cause.
They’re raising money and awareness for a little boy with a rare form of cancer.
Led by the mayor, Manitowoc city officials ran through the pouring rain and into the frigid waters of Lake Michigan, all because they were dared.
“I’m Justin Nickels, the mayor of the city of Manitowoc and I got nominated by like 12 different people to do the plunge for Eli,” said Nickels, before he took the plunge.
The Plunge for Eli challenge is circulated through videos posted online.
Plungers challenge their friends to jump in cold water and donate money.
They’re paying it forward to this little guy: Nine-month-old Eli Kupsky.
Kupsky has been battling stage 4 neuroblastoma almost since birth. It’s a rare form of cancer.
Because Kupsky underwent a difficult chemotherapy treatment Tuesday, his family could only talk to FOX 11 by phone.
“It takes him longer to recover from the higher dose of chemotherapy the week of and typically the week after he’s pretty irritable but it’s going as well as can be expected,” said his father, Aaron Kupsky.
The treatments have also exhausted the family financially. His mother, Cammie, had to take off of work to care for Eli full-time during this round of chemo.
The family lives in Green Bay. Currently, Kupsky receives treatments at St. Vincent Hospital. However, he has had procedures and appointments at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin in the Milwaukee area. The family flew out to New York City earlier this year to visit with a neuroblastoma specialist. The couple also has a two-year-old son, Owen.
In the past two months, the Plunge for Eli effort has raised more than $28,000.
“The sad fact that this kid has cancer, this very young kid, to raise money and awareness for it is just a great cause,” said Manitowoc Mayor Justin Nickels. Nickels said even though he doesn’t personally know the Kupsky family, he was touched by their story, and wanted to get the word out.
The Kupsky family says they’re stunned at the support.
“It’s been unbelievable the people who are acquaintances that we don’t even know that have taken the plunge and donated money and prayed for our son,” said Aaron Kupsky over the phone.
And these plungers say daring to take a dip was worth it to back this brave little boy.
Aaron Kupsky says his son’s prognosis only gives him a 30% chance of beating the cancer. However, Kupsky says doctors are optimistic, because Eli has been growing and putting on weight like a normal child his age should.
Click here to learn more about Eli Kupsky’s battle with cancer.