"Cold Water Challenge" to Help Charities Goes Viral

By BROOKE WELCH | bwelch@wfft.com

Published 04/30 2014 02:27PM

Updated 04/30 2014 02:37PM

If you have Facebook, then you've heard of the "Cold Water Challenge" where participants have 24 hours to either jump into cold water or donate $100 dollars to charity.

Seems like an innocent idea that may even help charities, but one Michigan man almost lost his life.

You only have to scroll through your Facebook feed and you've heard of the Cold Water Challenge.

"Oh, it's really seemed to catch on, I see a new person tagged everyday."

Joey Dynako was recently dared to do the challenge and is raising money for Cystic Fibrosis.  He even jumped in the water during his interview.

"Ya know, the water wasn't too bad, it was nice and refreshing."

A fun idea, but there is a dark side.  32 year old Stergis, Michigan man Tommy Smith dove in water just like this but is now paralyzed.

So what if you're tagged in the Cold Water Challenge and you'd still like to compete?  We have some safety tips from an expert.

"People's lack of knowledge about the water.  People are so anxious to get in there and do the challenge and have fun.  They don't think about the water depth, they don't think about things that might be on the bottom."

Liz Caywood is the Natatorium Director for Fort Wayne Community Schools.

"Definitely go in feet first.  Going in anything head first when you don't know the bottom conditions is extremely dangerous."

Coming off of a cold winter, jumpers also need to be aware of weather conditions.

"It's cold right now, so they need to limit their exposure to the cold water.  Get in, get out, as soon as possible."

Caywood also says to never do the challenge alone and if possible,organize an event with lifeguards present.

"Happy I could have done it, I'm still going to donate to charity."

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