WATCH: Sylas Thompson reaches his goal of $30,000. Credit: Sylas Swims/Facebook
After swimming in cold waters for 32 days, an 11-year-old Campbell River boy has reached his fundraising goal.
On Feb. 1, Sylas Thompson started a daily polar bear swim at the Tyee Spit in Campbell River. He said he would take the plunge every day until he raised $15,000 for the local Grassroots Kind Hearts Society and $15,000 for the Campbell River Women’s Resource Centre. He continued to swim through one of the coldest Februaries on record.
Thompson decided to do polar bear swims in memory of his uncle, Jake Hebenton. As a young teen, Jake did polar bear swims to raise money for the local food bank and for the Wei Wai Kum First Nation elders. Hebenton passed away in 2011 after an ATV accident
On March 4, Thompson reached his goal with a donation from Island Owl Trucks and Sussex Insurance. Island Owl Trucks donated $2,850 ($150 from each of the 19 vehicles sold) and Sussex Insurance donated $250.
“I’ve reached my goal of $30,000,” Thompson said in a video announcement on his Facebook page.
Other individuals, businesses and community groups donated throughout February. Some adults and kids joined Thompson during one of his swims.
Thompson’s last swim will be on Friday and the final amount raised for the Grassroots Kind Hearts Society and the Campbell River Women’s Resource Centre will be announced toward the end of March.
The Campbell River Women’s Resource Centre provides various services to women in the Campbell River area and northern Vancouver Island communities, such as crisis counselling and access to clothing donations.
The Grassroots Kind Hearts Society gives home-cooked meals to those in need in Campbell River. They currently serve the food out of the Radiant Life Church but would like to find a permanent facility.