Last night Greymouth legend Josh Komen spent 21 minutes immersed in ice-cold water at Rānui House. With no ‘official’ New Zealand record in place, Josh’s time in the bath is ‘unofficially’ the longest on record.
“It feels pretty great. I’ve been working towards this for some time, so to be able to see all my hard work paying off is awesome,” says Josh.
As well as an impressive achievement, Josh’s record-setting attempt has raised more than $87,000 for Rānui House, a 26-apartment complex that provides accommodation for patients and families undergoing life-saving medical treatment at Christchurch hospitals. Donations are continuing to grow.
Josh is an ambassador for the Bone Marrow Cancer Trust which runs Rānui House, where Josh and his family stayed for 474 nights while he was battling Acute Myeloid Leukaemia, a type of cancer of the blood. He came up with the idea for the record-setting attempt earlier this year as a way of giving back to Rānui House, which he says was a “saving grace” for him and his family during his epic health battle – a battle he helped overcome after discovering the physical and mental benefits of ice therapy.
As he prepared himself for the challenge ahead, Josh says he could think of nothing else but giving it his “absolute all”. The water he was immersed in was around 2-3 degrees, about ten degrees colder than the water from your cold tap.
“Sitting in the bath for that long was really tough, but I knew I could do it. For me, it’s all about mindset. It’s an uncomfortable situation to be in, but I just focused on my breathing. I’ve faced my fair share of challenges in life and I know that when you confront an uncomfortable situation, you can grow from it.”
Josh, who is a qualified oxygen advantage breathing instructor, was surrounded by dozens of supporters as he embarked on his record-setting attempt, including West Coast ultra star Ruth Croft who decided to ‘dip a toe in’ alongside Josh.
Ruth says taking part in the ice-bath challenge was a “no-brainer”, and she was proud to play a part in supporting the more than 1,000 Kiwi families who, every year, call Rānui House home.
“I’ve known Josh since primary school and I know how much Rānui House helped him and his family while he was receiving treatment. Taking part in the ice-bath challenge was something little I could do to support Josh, while at the same time helping him raise awareness for Rānui House and the incredible work they do for families in need.”
“Just knowing they were there and feeling the weight of their love and support is what helped me push through,” says Josh.
“My wife, Sibille has always stood by me. She’s there holding my hand through everything in life and I’m so grateful to have her there, supporting me every step of the way.”
A total of 38 people took part in the ice-bath challenge with Josh, including Southlander Cameron Parkinson, who spent time at Rānui House between 2020 and 2023 while he was battling T-cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia. Admitting it was a “bit of a shock to the system” after several years of treatment, Cameron says being able to give back to Rānui House was “a real privilege”.
Nelson teenager Brodie Seelen, who spent time at Rānui House in 2020 while battling a rare auto-immune blood disease also joined in the Ice Bath Challenge and encouraged his entire family to join in.“It definitely wasn’t easy but I able to stay in the bath by focussing on my breathing. It feels pretty awesome to be giving back to a great cause, knowing the money will be going back to supporting families going through a similar journey to what I’ve been through,” says Brodie.