Campbell Riverite Sandra Chow has been braving the waters of the Strait of Georgia every day for eight days now, bringing new meaning to the Coldest Night of the Year (CNOY) fundraiser.
Her goal is to take a dip every day for 13 days total.
Chow works for the Transitions Used Furniture Store, which is operated by the Campbell River and North Island Transition Society. Her daily dips are to raise money leading up to the Coldest Night of the Year event next weekend, funds from which go towards the Transition Society.
However, this isn’t the first time Chow took on a challenge like this.
“Last year I decided to as a personal challenge walk 15 kilometers a day for 20 days leading up to Coldest Night of the Year,” she said. “So I put in 300 kilometers and was one of the top three fundraisers in our society. It was a lot of walking, but I sure felt good.”
This year, after turning 65, Chow wanted to up the ante a bit — in a way.
“I wanted a challenge this year and I thought to maybe get some people interested and have a laugh I would jump in the freezing cold water,” she said. “So I decided to do a dip a day for 15 days.”
Chow, who got up on Feb. 17 and did dip number eight at 7:30 a.m. at Tyee Spit, hasn’t regretted that decision.
“I thought it might be a bit of a challenge to go in and out in this weather,” she said. “The thing is, I can’t anticipate it, or it’ll just wreak havoc on my mind … I need to do when when I’m distracted … I distract myself somehow and then I go in.
“After five days or so I didn’t get the shock,” she said. “So this morning I was actually thinking well the water is a little bit warmer today!”
She’s not wrong either. She said that she researched the water temperature for this time of year, and came up with 7.1 C, which is warmer than the air temperature most mornings. .
All of this is not just for her benefit, however. The goal is to raise money and awareness and empathy for homelessness, hunger and hurt. She’s asking people to donate $2 per dip, which comes out to $30 total for the whole thing. It’s all in the lead up for the Coldest Night of the Year on Feb. 25, when teams of people walk as part of a fundraiser for the Transition Society, which will go towards helping unhoused people throughout B.C.
“As I was doing this morning’s dip, a fellow was walking his dog, Oscar. The man encouraged Oscar to go in but Oscar declined. So the man donated $50!” she said Friday.
That being said, Chow wanted to stress that this is a personal challenge, and not for everybody.
“I simply want to bring cold, homelessness, hurt, and hungry to the attention of my community,” she said. “The one thing I remember every time I’m in there is that there are people who are suffering a great great deal more than I am.”
The Transition Society is still looking for teams to join this year’s CNOY event. The goal is to raise $50,000 this year, and on Thursday (Feb. 16) the society surpassed $30,000 raised. Chow herself has brought in $200.
To register a team or to donate, those interested can visit cnoy.org/locations/campbellriver.