16th annual Great Polar Bear Challenge raises money for Make-A-Wish Idaho

Posted at 3:42 PM, Jan 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-02 07:51:45-05

BOISE — People celebrate the new year a little different in Idaho as brave swimmers jumped into Lucky Peak Reservoir for the 16th annual Great Polar Bear Plunge.

Spirits were high even though temperatures outside were in the twenties, more than one hundred people jumped into the cold water to signify a fresh start to 2019.

"That was really cold, but really refreshing," said Zach Cogswell." It's probably the best way to start the year."

However, the Polar Bear Challenge also has a bigger purpose and that is to raise money for Make-A-Wish Idaho, this year the swimmers raised $48,000.

"It's really incredible to see the community come together to help children that just need a little hope and a little joy," said Jessica Budzianowski.

In January of 2018, John Peterson's daughter Sarah was diagnosed with cancer so John wanted to participate because he saw first hand what children who deal with life-threatening conditions go through, thankfully Sarah made a full recovery.

"She's doing great, she's in remission and we got a great result from it," said Peterson. "The Polar Bear Challenge was probably one of the worst things I've ever done in my life, it was unbelievably cold."

But John will be back next year to raise money with hopes of making a sick child's dream come true as will so many more because the community rallies in the face of adversity.

Here's a story by 6 on Your Side's Frankie Katafias that details the kind of impact that Make-A-Wish Idaho has on children and here's a link to Make-A-Wish Idaho's website.