A screenshot shows Campbell River resident Sylas Thompson, 11, just after a swim in the ocean at Tyee Spit on Feb. 1. Image by David Gordon Koch/Campbell River Mirror

VIDEO: Young polar bear swimmer launches fundraising campaign in Campbell River

Sylas Thompson, 11, is swimming daily until he raises $30,000 for two community groups

Sylas Thompson, 11, jumped into the cold water at Tyee Spit on Friday afternoon in front of a crowd of at least 50 cheering supporters.

He’s swimming every day until he raises $30,000 for the Women’s Resource Centre and Grassroots Kind Hearts, two groups that help people struggling with poverty. And even amid Sunday’s snowfall, he continued his polar bear plunges.

Asked how he felt as he emerged from the water on Friday, he said “good, refreshed.”

Among the crowd of supporters was Chris Roberts, chief of Wei Wai Kum First Nation. He praised the sixth-grade student for helping address the needs of local community groups and for honouring the late Jake Hebenton, Thompson’s uncle.

“I’m very proud of this young gentleman from our community,” Roberts said.

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

Hebenton, who died in a tragic ATV accident in 2011, raised funds for the BC Elders Gathering and for the local food bank during polar bear swim campaigns in 2000 and 2001, respectively.

Hebenton’s cousin Eddy Cliffe also honoured Hebenton’s memory with a campaign of polar bear plunges for the food bank in 2012.

Seeing Thompson continue that tradition is a good sign, said Roberts.

“It gives me confidence heading into the future that we’re going to have great leaders,” he said.

READ MORE: Campbell River man swims in memory of his late cousin in a month-long for food bank

You can donate through GoFundMe, or through a bank account set up under the name “Sylas Swims” – account number 754364 – at the Discovery Harbour branch of Coastal Community Credit Union.

By Monday morning, more than $2,850 had been raised, according to his GoFundMe page. Thompson has pledged to swim daily until he reaches his $30,000 goal.

You can follow his progress on his Facebook page, Sylas swims everyday until he reaches 30k, and on his YouTube channel.


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