UVic Torch -- Spring 2003
Autumn 2003,
Volume 25, Number 1

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Freezing for the cause
Freezing for the cause
Photo courtesy of JOHN HAYWARD

More than 200 student volunteers willingly jumped into frigid waters to help in the hypothermia experiments.

Despite harsh conditions (the phrase "you feel like you're just about dead" comes up often in John Hayward's conversation) the researchers were never short on volunteers.

Will Cupples was an undergraduate student in Hayward's physiology class in 1973. He remembers that he was attracted by the sense of adventure, the obvious applications for the research, and Hayward's enthusiasm. In total, he volunteered over 10 hours in the water. "The first 15 minutes are the worst, and then your body goes numb," remembers Cupples. "But it wasn't all bad-the rewarming afterwards was a heck of a rush."

The camaraderie among researchers and Hayward's energy for including everyone in the project made for a convivial atmosphere. In every experiment, Hayward and his colleagues would be the first to jump in the water. Hayward's wife Mary would often fill in if they were low on numbers.

When not in the water, the volunteers would cheer the others on, or Hayward would find a way to include them in other aspects of the research. "It was good science, and it was applied science, and there was also some phenomenal teaching going on," says Cupples.

The experience certainly made a lasting impression on Cupples-he went on to do a PhD in physiology, looking at temperature effects on kidney function, and recently returned to UVic to join the Biology department.

Survival Science | Freezing for a cause

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