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

Victoria Fire Department advises cigarette safety after two fires started in one week

Two separate fires caused by cigarette butts were avoidable

VicPD faces ‘significant pressure’ following Victoria’s 2019 budget decision

Chief Const. Del Manak says council continues to micromanage his department

28 years later: Dunahee disappearance remains largest investigation in Victoria police history

The four-year old Victoria boy went missing without a trace on March 24, 1991

Saanich could become the new home of the world’s largest gnome

Galey Farms could find out Tuesday whether it will host the eight-metre-tall structure

Protective human chain forms around Victoria mosque for Friday prayer

Islanders stand arm-in-arm to show support in aftermath of New Zealand shootings

‘Families torn apart:’ Truck driver in fatal Broncos crash gets 8-year sentence

Judge Inez Cardinal told court in Melfort, Sask., that Sidhu’s remorse and guilty plea were mitigating factors

Jr. B Cougars advance to both league finals and provincials

Victoria beats Nanaimo 4-3 in Game 6 Friday night to win series

Vancouver Island motorists attempted CPR on victim in fatal Highway 4 crash

Collision took place west of Whiskey Creek; man in his 70s died

Greater Victoria Wanted List for the week of March 19

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

POLL: When do you think the next major earthquake will hit Vancouver Island?

According to seismologists, Vancouver Island is overdue for a magnitude 7 earthquake.… Continue reading

WestJet sticking with Boeing 737 Max once planes certified to fly

WestJet had expected to add two more of the planes this year to increase its fleet to 13

B.C. driver caught going 207 km/h on motorcycle along Okanagan Highway

A motorcyclist was caught by Kelowna RCMP going 207 km/h on Highway 97C

Motorcyclist dies after three-vehicle crash on old Island Highway

Accident happened at 12:15 p.m. Friday near Country Club Centre in Nanaimo

Most Read