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Audrey's Purple Dream is 'another record breaker'

Cowboy Mike Lenander was among the luny-ticks taking the plunge. (Jean Ruzicka / Enterprise)1 / 4
Veteran plunger Laura Powers' expression changed from bodacious "officer" to an I-know-what's-coming as she headed into the arctic waters. (Jean Ruzicka / Enterprise)2 / 4
The plunge. (Jean Ruzicka / Enterprise)3 / 4
Kristina Tooker, 15, of Akeley, whose late father Mark was a recipient of APD aid, raised funds on the ice with her hula hoop performances. "Audrey's Purple Dream was there for him," she said of the bed he received. "It was great support." (Jean Ruzicka / Enterprise)4 / 4

Akeley's Answer to Cancer - Audrey's Purple Dream - raised $18,700, a record setter for the 8th annual fishing tournament and Purple Plunge held Saturday on 11th Crow Wing.

Funds were raised through the fishing tourney, drawing 269 fisherfolk, and the plunge into the frigid waters, 20 taking the daring dip to bring in $7,041. Rita Holland, who did not take the dive this year due to medical reasons, raised nearly $2,200 for the fundraiser held to help those battling cancer.

Additional funds were raised through button and merchandise sales as well as raffles - including a mystery bag, Munchkin Mansion, money bag and mini chopper.

Dinner followed at the Akeley VFW with $1 donated for each plate of food sold.

Audrey's Purple Dream is dedicated to the memory of Audrey Faye Pidde, a lifelong resident of Akeley who died in 2005 after a battle with cancer.

The event's founder, Melissa "Nib" Niblick, organized the community fundraiser in honor of her friend. One of Pidde's wishes had been to travel to Alaska; Niblick took on the role of fundraiser to fulfill the dream.

Pidde succumbed to cancer before she could make the journey, and Niblick died of cancer in 2009, but the "dream" lives on.

To date, more than 40 people have been gifted with a total of $37,000 since 2006.