By Melissa Garcia

BOULDER COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – Hundreds of brave men, women and children plunged into icy cold water on New Year’s Day in a challenge to raise money for the American Cancer Society. More than 220 participants ran into the frigid Boulder County Reservoir for the cause.

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“It’s going to be painful, but I’m really happy,” said Ivan Cardona, who took the plunge for a personal reason. His Aunt Nuvia has been battling breast cancer for more than 20 years.

Ivan Cardona (credit: CBS)

“She’s been like another mother for me,” Ivan said. “She’s been doing all the chemo and all the treatments, and right now she’s been declared a survivor.”

(credit: CBS)

Ivan’s wife, Dustin, joined him for support, but stayed on dry land.

“I’ll be right here, cheering you on dry,” she said with a laugh. “These people are incredible.”

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“It’s so cold,” said Reid Delman, who has taken the plunge for three years. “You get out there, and there’s a shock, and you want to get out.”

PHOTO GALLERY: 2019 Boulder Polar Plunge

Despite the shock, they kept swimming, some of them remembering loved ones lost to the disease.

(credit: CBS)

“My mother passed away from breast cancer,” Delman told CBS4’s Melissa Garcia.

The funds raised will help cancer survivors through the challenge.

“The money that we raise here today helps support cancer research as well as help patients who are going through cancer — if they need a ride to treatment, (or) a place to stay, if they’re traveling for their treatment,” explained Amanda Seier, who works for the American Cancer Society.

The 37th annual Polar Plunge raised an estimated $30,000.

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Melissa Garcia has been reporting for CBS4 News since March 2014. Find her bio here, follow her on Twitter @MelissaGarciaTV, or send your story idea to