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Abby’s Arctic Angels

Pat Cockrill participated in the 2011 St. Joseph Polar Plunge for the first time. He was the top fundraiser at Lake Contrary, and Abby’s Arctic Angels was the top fundraising team. You can donate to his 2012 Plunge efforts here.

When Mary (Welborn) Oyler came by our house and mentioned how much she was missing Abby, we talked about the adventures they always had together. Special Olympics events were a common high time for both. Mary had mentioned Abby would always raise money for her, but she would never do the Polar Plunge. But 2011 was going to be different. Abby would have been out of school and teaching, and promised Mary she would not only raise money but also plunge with her. 

Unfortunately, on Aug. 22, 2010, Abby was killed by a drunk driver. Abby is/was our oldest daughter of three. When Mary told me Abby was going to plunge this year, I opened my big mouth and said I would plunge for Abby, not really realizing what I was doing. I just knew it was something I wanted to do to honor my daughter who truly loved helping those that needed help. Abby was going to be an elementary school teacher. Young people loved Abby. One of her managers at Spectrum Station, a Platte City Pre-school, stated ” Abby was a rock for students that had emotional, physical or mental challenges. She always helped them achieve more than they could by working closely, loving and urging them to success.” That is why she LOVED Special Olympics.

Abby's Arctic Angels before the Polar Plunge

When I was told that all the money that we, “Abby’s Arctic Angels” our plunge team, would raise would be used to send financially strapped children to the summer Sports Camp, I melted. What a better tribute to my beautiful daughter. Abby could still help these athletes, even if she was not physically here.

We sent emails and we wrote notes and phone calls and My friends and co-workers donated neatly $10,000 dollars. I was overwhelmed.


My plunge was incredible. We had a huge crowd. Mary and I went in first, totally dunking ourselves. I could just picture Abby doing this. But then I pictured her laughing her butt off

Mary Oyler and Pat Cockrill after taking the Polar Plunge

watching me from Heaven. Knowing Abby has been able to help so many young people go to a camp to learn one or two sports that they can compete in is very rewarding. I just hope they know how much love Abby would have given them.

I have committed to plunging one more year. Not sure the money will be as great, but I know every dollar we raise will help. We love you Abby!!!