Making a splash for a cause

By Michael Ullery

May 14, 2014

Mike Ullery

Staff Photographer


PIQUA — It is impossible to look at Facebook these days and not see a video of someone standing before a camera, “calling out” their friends, and then leaping, wading, falling, or in some cases, gingerly tiptoeing into a body of water as they take part in what has become known as “The Cold Water Challenge.”

What began as a bit of motivation for generating donations to the Cpl. Sam Pearson Memorial Scholarship Fund, by No Mercy Crossfit employee JP Wead, has literally, taken on a life of its own.

The story began last year when No Mercy Crossfit owners Joe and Holly Mikolajewski decided, just prior to Memorial Day to “do something for the community, in a charitable way,” said Joe Mikolajewski. “We decided to establish a scholarship fund to try to give back to the local kids in the community so they could carry on and keep his (Pearson’s) name alive.

No Mercy Crossfit held several fundraising events in 2013, raising more than $2,000 for the initial scholarship fund.

Several variations to the Cold Water Challenge have surfaced as some of those involved have not understood the challenge is a fundraising effort, not an either/or challenge.

The challenge is, once “called out,” the participant has 24 hours to either donate $50 to the scholarship fund, or, choose to jump into the water and pay a reduced donation of $25. Prior to making their leap, participants are encouraged to “call out” several of their own friends to keep the challenge — and donations — rolling.

Corporal Pearson’s parents, Randi and Carolyn Pearson said, “We feel truly blessed to live in a caring community such as Piqua. We’d like to thank Joe and Holly Mikolajewski for their unselfish act of kindness in starting the Sam Pearson Memorial Scholarship through the fundraisers at No Mercy Crossfit gym. We admire their desire to give back to the community by raising money for a scholarship benefiting the students of Piqua High School and we are humbled that they chose to honor our son.”

The Pearsons said, also, “We want to also recognize and thank the members of the No Mercy Crossfit gym, Brody Mayse, and everyone participating in the ‘5K Run and Crossfit Challenge’ on Memorial Day, with a special shout out to JP Wead for initiating the Cold Water Challenge this year. The participation and additional donations generated by the challenge have been overwhelming.”

This Memorial Day, No Mercy Crossfit is teaming with Can’t Stop Running to hold a 5K Run along with an “Individual CrossFit workout version of ‘Fight Gone Bad.”

Participants can choose to participate in one, or both, events.

Mikolajewski said, “While we will honor Samuel F. Pearson specifically, we do not forget the rest of the fallen that have made the ultimate sacrifice for us and for our country. Sam is special to a lot of people in the community of Piqua and beyond. This is why our gym is going to take the money raised from this event and create a scholarship foundation for the Piqua High School that will be given annually in his name.

For more information or to make donations to the Sam Pearson Cold Water Challenge, or for information of the upcoming 5K Run, contact No Mercy Crossfit at 1264 E. Ash St.