$95,000 raised for River Hospital as the Polar Bear Dip returns

Published: Feb. 25, 2023 at 6:15 PM EST
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ALEXANDRIA BAY, New York (WWNY) - For the first time since 2020, folks are back freezing for a reason at the 33th Annual Polar Bear Dip, bracing the frozen waters of the St. Lawrence River.

“Wasn’t bad. Wasn’t bad, bit of a refreshing jump.”

Hundreds gathered to watch the 125 brave souls who signed up take the plunge.

Stephanie Weiss, Executive Director of Development at River Hospital says this year the target goal was $75,000 to revamp their emergency rooms.

“It is amazing to be back and have the energy and the people to do something awesome for the hospital,” said Weiss.

Despite the brief hiatus, Weiss tells us the event was back in full force. Prior to the event, they’d already met their goal and donations only continued to flow throughout the plunge.

“It’s a show of bravery. It’s a show of creativity. But most of all, it’s a show of people who are willing to make a difference for an important cause. So, we’re very grateful for everyone here,” said Weiss.

Some jumped in costume and others followed in family footsteps. Britnee Davis took the plunge partially in honor of her mother who’s currently battling cancer. On her own, she managed to raise $5,000.

“She actually did this dip for years until 2008. Then I took over in 2009 and I’ve been doing it ever since,” said Davis.

Another $5,000 came courtesy of an anonymous donor on once condition: Emcee and 7 News anchor Jeff Cole had to take a dip into the St. Lawrence River.

“You don’t really know what they’re going through until you do it yourself. It’s a pretty incredible experience,” said Jeff Cole.

Despite the cold, folks ended the day with smiles on their faces.

The event helped the hospital raise a total of $95 thousand.