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‘Cold Water Challenge’ Videos Helping Wis. Toddler Suffering From Leukemia

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Some crazy videos have been popping up on Facebook over the past week to help a sick little girl and her family.

“It’s been crazy,” Mark Uetz, from Hudson, Wis., said. “Three, four, five videos are popping up a day.”

The videos are part of the “Cold Water Challenge,” an online campaign to help generate attention and funds for a cause. Families have been recording videos of them doing cold water stunts, like splashing around in frigid water or diving into piles of snow wearing snorkeling gear — all to support Team Danica.

“She is the most resilient, happy-go-lucky [girl],” Danica’s mom, Kari Uetz, said. “I just am in awe of her.”

Eighteen-month-old Danica, or Dani, was diagnosed with a rare, high risk form of leukemia three months ago. Since then, she’s had five blood transfusions and intense chemotherapy.

Her father, Mark, had to quit his business to accommodate long stays at Children’s Hospital.

“When you have kids and they’re so sick and you know there’s absolutely nothing you can do, that’s the worst feeling,” he said.

The Hudson community rallied behind the family. Friends, families, and strangers have been dropping off groceries and diapers. Once one family started doing the Cold Water Challenge just a week ago, it’s now reached to others getting in on the campaign in places as far as Africa.

“You’re doing something kind of crazy outside so it definitely attracts attention,” Rob Neuenschwander said.

The Neuenschwander family, from Hudson, recorded their Cold Water Challenge video and posted it to Facebook this week. The video is linked to a donation page for Dani. In the video, they challenge others to record their own video and donate.

“It shows the goodness in people right now,” Mark said. “The support is incredible.”

Mark and Kari say their whole family loves watching the videos. The donations have helped pay for Dani’s medical bills, as she’ll undergo a two-and-a-half-year treatment plan.

The fun and support of the videos has been a light for the entire family through a dark time.

“This has been the worst trying thing, but it’s also been the best thing for our family also,” Mark said.

To donate to Team Danica, click here.

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