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Results are in for the Virtual Polar Bear Dip!

 The results are in for River Hospital’s Virtual Polar Bear Dip – The event surpassed its goal of $50,000, raising over $56,000. Almost half of the funds raised came in from the event’s three top fundraising winners. While the pandemic required a pivot to a Virtual event this year, the community and the hospital kept the tradition alive, and successfully raised the funds needed to purchase an Echocardiogram for River Hospital.

“While the Dip was surely different this year, it was incredible to see the community rally behind the new format and support the Hospital – especially given the challenges we have all faced this year. The Virtual Dip was a way for the Hospital and community to have some fun during a time when we need it the most, all while raising money for an important cause”, said Stephanie Weiss, Executive Director of Development. “We could not be more pleased with the results.”

The Top Fundraising winners this year are as follows:

  • Team Cody 22 won for Top Fundraising Team, raising almost $20,000
  • Chelsea Smith won Top Individual Fundraiser, raising almost $3,000
  • Bridgette Johnson won for Top Child Fundraiser, raising over $600

The Final judging Event, along with all the Dip submissions can still be viewed at https://riverhospital.org/news/upcoming-events

Over 60 supporters participated in the Virtual Event from across the country, showcasing new and creative ways to Dip virtually. For the first time in the event’s history children under 18 were able to participate and fundraise for River Hospital by Dipping virtually. The Final Judging Event was held on Saturday, February 27th, where the winners for Style and Costume were announced.

The winners in the costume and dip style are as follows:

  • Best Team Dip for Style: Clayton Youth Commission
  • Best Individual Dip for Style: Richard Campany
  • Best Child Dip for Style: The BoulderBergs
  • Best Team Dip for Costume: Sister Act
  • Best Individual Dip for Costume: Abominable Snow Mom
  • Best Child Dip for Costume: Carson for the Win!

Jeff Cole, longtime Polar Bear Dip emcee and WWNY TV7 News Anchor, once again hosted the Final Judging Event on Saturday. Judges included: Jeff Johnson, River Hospital’s Safety Officer and STAR Dive Team member, Wayne Strauss, River Hospital volunteer and Professor of Finance, Alex Hazard, Clayton Opera House Board Member and Rebecca Hopfinger, Antique Boat Museum Executive Director.

The funds from this year’s Polar Bear Dip will support the purchase of an echocardiogram, which will bring state of the art cardiac imaging to River Hospital for the first time. The echocardiogram is a test that uses a form of ultrasound to show how heart muscle and valves are working. The sound waves make moving pictures of a beating heart, so a provider can get a good look at its size, shape and function.

“Having an Echocardiogram at River Hospital will help us keep patients close to home that we would have had to transfer to potentially distant facilities for this important visual diagnostic. Now, members of our community will be able to stay here at River Hospital, closer to their loved ones. It’s a technological advance that directly benefits patients and their families; a terrific development in the capabilities of River Hospital,” said Dr. Aaron Campbell, Inpatient and Emergency Services Medical Director.

Event organizers say that while they hope to return to an in-person event next year, many participants have asked for a continuation of the Virtual option, so that children and seasonal residents can continue to participate and support the Hospital through the Polar Dip Event.

“With a 30-year history and over a million dollars raised cumulatively, the importance of the Polar Bear Dip cannot be overstated for River Hospital”, said Weiss, “but more than ever we are grateful for the creativity and flexibility and, of course, the generosity of our community. We want to thank our supporters and congratulate all of the winners for a job well done!”


Accessible by boat and car, we pride ourselves on delivering high quality inpatient care, emergency services and outpatient services for routine and diagnostic testing. River Family Health Center offers a variety of primary care services, on premise, for the entire family. Our Ambulatory Surgical Unit offers same day surgery on an outpatient basis for a number of specialties. River Hospital Convenient Care offers same day non-emergency appointments

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4 Fuller Street
Alexandria Bay, NY