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Chautauqua County polar plunge raises thousands for Oishei Children's Hospital

The 20th annual "Polar Bear Swim" returns after a year off due to COVID-19.
Posted at 5:31 PM, Jan 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-10 09:41:24-05

SILVER CREEK, N.Y. (WKBW) — As each body hits the subzero icy water on the beach of Silver Creek, money goes directly to children at the Oishei Children's Hospital - alongside local fire and EMS crews in Silver Creek.

"We have done this for twenty years ... and we continue to do it, for the people that don't have a voice," said Judi Kelly, the Co-Chair of the event.

The "Polar Bear Swim," was given the namesake because ... "its not a plunge, everyone out there takes a swim in that freezing water," said Kelly.

Each year around January swimmers line up (typically in costume) and jump into the icy water for a few minutes. The event also features live music, food, raffles and other ways to fundraise - if you are not so willing to go into the water.

"Each year, we've raised at least $8,500, so after twenty years - its become a lot of money," said Pamela Forge, the other co-chair of the event.

While the event has wrapped up for the season, you can still donate to the fund by using the contact info here:

Come August - the group is planning another event, the "Chicken Swim" for those too afraid (or chicken) to hit the cold water. You can sign up with the same info above.