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HMCS St. John’s Run the Rock

The 2019 Run the Rock team poses on Signal Hill in St. John’s at the end of the race. SUBMITTED

HMCS St. John’s concludes 24th year of Run the Rock

By LS Shauna Houston,
HMCS St. John’s

The team had the opportunity to meet Dante, one of the children who will be receiving his wish through the Foundation. SUBMITTED

Aligned with the RCN’s vision, Ready to Help, HMCS St. John’s continued the tradition of Run the Rock for its 24th year. This is an annual fundraising campaign by the ship’s company in support of the Children’s Wish Foundation of Canada, Newfoundland and Labrador Chapter.

Prior to returning home to Halifax following a two-month exercise overseas, 13 members of the ship’s company proudly stepped up to form the 2019 Run the Rock team.

For seven members of the team, their wait to get home didn’t necessarily mean a return to Halifax. As Newfoundlanders themselves, their hometowns: Burnt Islands, Corner Brook, Gander, Boyd’s Cove, Little Heart’s Ease, Whitbourne, and Paradise, were included in the 2019 route. During their homecomings, they, along with the remainder of the team, were greeted with open arms.

On July 18 the team set off on the 900-kilometre trek east from Port aux Basques along the Trans-Canada Highway. Over the course of their travels they stopped in many cities, towns, and villages along the way before finally making it to St. John’s, completing their journey on August 1. The connection that HMCS St. John’s has with its namesake city, and the entire province, is never more apparent than during this campaign. Run the Rock provides an opportunity for St. John’s to engage with communities across the province all in support of an amazing cause. Many of these communities have truly embraced Run the Rock by welcoming the team in to their homes, Legions, Lions’ Clubs, and town halls. The special connection shared between the community members and the team is what continues to make this campaign so successful.

This year, the team raised more than $111,000 for the Children’s Wish Foundation, which will be used to grant 11 wishes within the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. One of those wishes will be Dante’s, a young boy who the team met just days before the closing ceremony in St. John’s. I shared a very special moment with Dante when I was given the privilege of presenting him with his Roary, the Children’s Wish mascot, that symbolizes a child will officially be receiving their wish. This was just one of the many opportunities along the way for the team to see the positive impact that their efforts were having.

Since the campaign’s inception in 1996, St. John’s has surpassed $1,000,000 raised in support of the Children’s Wish Foundation. This has meant the granting of over 100 wishes to children in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, and also one out of every eight wishes granted in the province is funded through money raised by Run the Rock. After a rewarding run this year, the crew is now looking ahead to next summer’s event. 2020 will be a monumental year for St. John’s, as Run the Rock celebrates its 25th year: a quarter century of granting wishes.

The 2019 Run the Rock team consisted of Lt(N) Ryan Arnold; SLt Jon Tallis; PO2 Adam Edmunds; PO2 Billy Moore; PO2 Mitchell Spurrell; MS Frankie Gosse; MS Steven Lannon; MS Holly Green; LS Dan Hilchey; LS Michael Thoms; LS Michael Colboune; LS Jake Milley; and LS Shauna Houston.