ALEXANDRIA BAY, N.Y. (WWTI) — River Hospital in Alexandria Bay announced that their annual Polar Bear Dip fundraiser will be held virtually for the second year in a row.

In previous years the event invited community members to take a chilly dip in the St. Lawrence River, however in 2021, the hospital invited participants from all over to fundraise and create their own polar bear dip. According to a press release from the hospital, the event will follow the same format this year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Executive Director of Development Stephanie Weiss said it’s important they put safety first.

“It’s important that we keep the tradition alive, but, as a local hospital, we have to always have safety in mind,” Weiss said. “Just because the format has changed, doesn’t mean the excitement, fun, or importance of the event has to.”

The minimum donation goal to participate is $50.00 for Dippers, regardless of age. Once registered online, Dippers are encouraged to get creative and start planning their virtual dip. According to the hospital, everything qualifies except jumping into a body of water including doing snow angels in swimsuits or costumes, lounging in a cold-water kiddie pool, or having snowball fights in the snow.

Participants then should photograph or record videos of their Dip, send them to River Hospital and share their Dips and fundraising goals with friends and family during the months of January and February. The final event, to include participant submissions and a virtual judging party, will be held online on Saturday, February 26.

Last year the event raised over $50,000 for the purchase of an Echocardiogram for River Hospital’s newly renovated Cardiopulmonary Department. This year’s funding will support resources for the Emergency Department, including additional cardiac monitors which are critical to the hospital’s COVID-19 response efforts.

More information about the event can be found on the River Hospital website.