With a brisk wind from the north and snow-capped mountains at his back, 11-year-old Sylas Thompson stepped in and braved the frigid waters of Discovery Passage Saturday to help Campbell River’s less fortunate.

“I’m a little nervous but I’m pretty excited,” said the Campbell River boy.

“It is cold,” said Linda Schulz of the Campbell River Women’s Centre.

“And being here today I think he’s a lot braver than we are,” said Diane Palmer of the Grass Roots Kind Hearts Society, another of the charities Thompson is fundraising for.

What really gives this bundled up crowd goosebumps is that Thompson is doing this freezing cold fundraiser to follow in of the footsteps his late uncle, Jake Hebenton, who came to be known as “Polar Bear Jake” back in 2001.

“Yeah it’s great,” said Thompson’s grandmother Sheryl Thompson.

“It brings back some memories,” she said.

“And like my uncle Jake did,” said Sylas Thompson.

“I want to like make a difference in the world.”

So like Jake did at the age of 13, Sylas is pledging to do a polar bear swim off Campbell River’s Tyee Spit every single day until he meets his fundraising goal.

All to support two local charities that help the homeless: the Campbell River Women’s Centre and the Grassroots Kind Hearts Society.

“I just can’t say enough about Sylas,” said Linda Schulz.

“And his grandmother and his parents for doing this.”

Jake Hebenton passed away in an accident when Sylas was a baby, but he hopes he’d be proud of this.

“I know he’s proud,” said Sheryl Thompson.

“I know he’s proud.”

“I’m super proud of this kid,” said Jake’s sister Carolyn Hebenton.

“And I just can’t wait for him to reach his goal and have that fulfillment inside of him,” she said.

The 11-year-old’s goal is $30,000 for the two charities and Sheryl Thompson says her grandson won’t quit.

“He’s not stopping. It takes two months then be it. Whatever it takes,” said Thompson.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to raise funds and already over $1,700 has come in after just two swims.

So like his uncle before him this ambitious young boy’s cold plunge with a warm heart is paying off for others.

Skye Ryan