Calgarians take brave dip for a good cause
By all appearances it is a wild and fun event. People accepted dares and challenges, many put on costumes to give a little flair to their frozen lake dip.
But it’s the cause behind the annual polar bear plunge at the Elbow Valley Residents Club that really matters. For the past nine years, its creators decided to support Servants Anonymous. SA is an organization that works globally to raise awareness for survivors of sexual exploitation and human trafficking.
The “Olds Guys in Action” are a not-for-profit group hosting the 9th annual Calgary Icebreaker Polar Dip. Co-creator Bernie Potvin is committed to helping survivors.
“This cause is one of the most disturbing and disgusting in the world. Forty-three million women are trapped in sexual slavery and we are doing this for them,” Potvin said.
“They are the heroes. They’re warriors. These women just need our help.”
Sex abuse survivor and advocate Sheldon Kennedy didn’t hesitate to take part in the event.
“We need to keep making visible the invisible and child sex abuse, people don’t think it happens and it happens a lot. We’ve done 7,000 investigations in five years and the impact is real,” Kennedy said.
For first-time dipster Alisha Morris, the cause resonated deeply. She was so moved by the charity she faced her fears and dove into the dark waters.
“Just to know that at such a young age someone can be kidnapped and taken and forced into slavery the sex trade is such an abominable thing for me to imagine,” Morris said through tears. “I wanted to do what I could.”
The event raised over $90,000. All of it will be donated towards long-term recovery programs for exploitation and trafficking survivors.
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