Sylas Thompson, 11, on Tyee Spit in Campbell River after a polar bear swim in late January. Black Press file photo

Young polar bear swimmer raises $30,000 for North Island anti-poverty groups

Sylas Thompson, 11, has been swimming daily amid record-breaking cold temperatures

Polar bear swimmer Sylas Thompson, 11, has raised $30,000 for two North Island groups fighting poverty.

Thompson has been jumping into the icy water daily since Feb. 1, mostly at Tyee Spit in Campbell River. He announced his achievement in a video posted to Facebook on Monday.

“I’ve reached my goal of $30,000,” he said, adding that he’s thinking of doing a similar campaign in the future.

“I might be going up and down the Island, and every hour or so of driving, just do a dip,” he said.

Sheryl Thompson, Sylas’s grandmother, said the last swim of his campaign will be on Friday. The final amount raised will be announced towards the end of the month, she said.

In total, Sylas will have swam for 36 consecutive days. It was an especially cold period, with low temperatures in Campbell River breaking records dating back to 1958 on Feb. 10 (-13 C), Feb. 11 (-15.5 C), Feb. 26 (-10 C) and Feb. 27 (-10 C), according to Environment Canada.

Dozens of individuals, businesses and other groups donated, while others showed their support by jumping in the water, including a group of Grade 5 students.

VIDEO: Brr! Campbell River boy to plunge into icy waters daily for charity

VIDEO: Sylas Thompson’s polar bear swims continue amid cold and snow in Campbell River

VIDEO: Campbell River students join Sylas Thompson’s polar bear swim campaign

The funds are being split between two Campbell River groups, Grassroots Kind Hearts and the Women’s Resource Centre.

The Women’s Resource Centre’s services include a poverty relief program, which provides essentials like personal hygiene products, clothing and linens.

Grassroots Kind Hearts provides services including a daily hot meal to homeless people and others struggling with poverty.

The founder of Grassroots Kind Hearts, Krisandra Rufus, was also in the news last week asking for support from the community after her daughter was diagnosed with a spinal infection.

Sylas Thompson is following in the footsteps of his late uncle “Polar Bear” Jake Hebenton, who previously raised funds by swimming off Tyee Spit in the early 2000s. After Hebenton’s death in 2011, his cousin Eddy Cliffe launched another polar bear swim campaign at the same spot.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Update: A previous version of this article stated that Sylas Thompson’s last swim would be on Thursday. It’s now scheduled for Friday, according to Sheryl Thompson, Sylas’ grandmother.

Just Posted

Man accused of Brentwood Bay murder appears in court

Alan Chapman tells judge he wants next court appearance to be “as far away as possible”

Victoria couple seeks community’s help after e-bike stolen for second time

Voltbike stolen from parking garage on Quadra Street

American boat strikes reef, sinks near Oak Bay

Two people rescued from boat headed for Orca Island

Final bell could sound for project that allows Victoria grads to dress in style

Magic Wand must find space to store its prom attire for Greater Victoria students by end of June

Staff recommend major boost to Langford council pay

After 13 years without an increase, mayor’s pay would double over next five years

VIDEO: Acknowledging skeptics, finance minister vows to build Trans Mountain project

Bill Morneau said he recognizes ‘huge amount of anxiety’ in Calgary over future of oil and gas sector

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of June 18

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Do you support the government’s decision to approve the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion?

The federal government announced Tuesday its approval for the Trans Mountain pipeline… Continue reading

Slain friend motivates rookie football player to make it with hometown B.C. Lions

Jaylen Sandhu, stabbed to death in 2014, a source of inspiration for promising RB Jamel Lyles

Sooke council urged to move faster on off-leash dog park plan

Resident questions why five of seven restricted parks are in Sooke

Driver of stolen vehicle caught after fleeing accident scene in Island community

Section of Chemainus Road closed until suspect located and eventually taken into custody

Home care for B.C.’s elderly is too expensive and falls short: watchdog

Report says seniors must pay $8,800 a year for daily visits under provincial home support program

B.C. ‘struggling’ to meet needs of vulnerable youth in contracted care: auditor

Auditor general says youth in contracted residential services may not be getting support they need

Pair of B.C. cities crack Ashley Madison’s ‘Infidelity Hotlist’

Data from the website reveals Abbotsford and Kelowna hottest spots for cheaters

Most Read