BOISE, Idaho — The Polar Bear Plunge has become a New Year's Day tradition in Boise and a fun way to raise money for Make-A-Wish Idaho.
But this year the event will be different because of the pandemic, only the top ten fundraisers will be able to go to Springs Shores Marina and jump in Lucky Peak Reservoir, Make-A-Wish Idaho asks the public to respect their wishes and not show up at the marina.
"I love the polar bear event it is one of my most favorite things I do at Make-A-Wish the people who come up for that are usually so much fun but we will be doing it differently this year," said Helene Peterson of Make-A-Wish Idaho. “So far we have raised enough to grant two wishes, which is really great."
Make-A-Wish Idaho helps children who have received an unfortunate diagnosis by granting them a wish.
“Our mission is to grant life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses and I often focus on the life-changing part," said Peterson. "I really do believe that what we do does make a difference in their treatment journey."
In the past year Make-A-Wish Idaho has granted dozens of wishes ranging from trips to Disney, shopping sprees and backyard playground equipment.
But 2020 has also been challenging especially for the kids, many of them are immune-compromised which meant they had to take extra precautions because of COVID-19.
"It just adds another layer to what they are already going through, another challenge for them to overcome," said Peterson. "I think the magic of a wish is it gives them a little bit of hope, a little bit of strength and a little bit of joy at the time when they need it the most."
People who want to help can always donate to Make-A-Wish Idaho, but they can also choose to do their own polar bear plunge and participate in a virtual way.
Here's how it works: Record a video of jumping in the water, doing a snow angel or any other unique cold-weather mission. Register with Make-A-Wish Idaho and ask for donations.
For more instructions on the process and the correct method to post your video to Facebook, Instagram or Twitter click here.