Run the Rock surpasses $1,000,000 for Children’s Wish
By Lt(N) Ryan Arnold,
HMCS St. John’s Logistics Officer
Prior to returning home to Halifax following a six month deployment on Op REASSURANCE in the Baltic and Mediterranean Sea, the crew of HMCS St. John’s knew there was still one mission left to complete. This mission, which is almost as old as the ship herself, was continuing the tradition of Run the Rock for its 23rd year.
This is an annual fundraising campaign by the ship’s company that raises money for the Children’s Wish Foundation of Canada: Newfoundland & Labrador Chapter. Even under these circumstances, finding 13 members to make up the 2018 team proved not to be a challenge.
For five members of the team their wait to get home didn’t necessarily mean their return to Halifax. As Newfoundlanders themselves, their hometowns: Lark Harbour, Trout River, Boyd’s Cove, Gander, and Whitbourne, were added to the 2018 route, and during these homecomings they and the remainder of the team were greeted with open arms.
On the 23rd of July the team started the over 900-kilometre journey from Port aux Basques, stopping in towns along the way, before finally making it to the end of their journey in St. John’s on August 4. The connection St. John’s has with its namesake city and the province of Newfoundland and Labrador 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. These communities have embraced Run the Rock as much as the crew has. Since the run began, they have welcomed the team each year into their homes, Legions, Lions Clubs and town halls, providing shelter, food, water and always a memorable experience.
Along the way, the team had the opportunity to meet several wish children and their families. Sometimes these meetings were planned and other times they occurred just by chance, including a memorable meeting during a fundraising stop in a small-town Tim Hortons. Listening to their stories and seeing the impact that a wish provided, were the moments that truly brought home the significance of what they were doing for the team.
This year the team raised more than $113,000 for the Children’s Wish Foundation, which will used to grant 11 wishes. One of those wishes will be Claire’s, a young girl who attended the closing ceremonies of the campaign where she discovered, to her surprise, that Run the Rock would be sponsoring her wish. This was another opportunity for the team to see the positive impact that their efforts were having.
This year’s run also achieved a significant milestone as St. John’s surpassed the $1,000,000 mark raised in support of the Children’s Wish Foundation since the campaign’s inception in 1996. This has meant the granting of over 100 wishes to children in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. The Foundation informed the team that today, one out of eight wishes granted by them is funded by money raised by Run the Rock, something in which the crew of St. John’s, both past and present, can take a great deal of pride.
The 2018 Run the Rock team consisted of: Lt(N) Ryan Arnold; CPO2 John McCarthy; MS Franklyn Gosse; MCpl Kelena Kelly; LS Shauna Houston; Cpl Keira White; LS Michael Huntley; LS Jeffrey Kennedy; LS Jordan Park; LS Michael Thoms; AB John Bentley; AB Jon Korkush; and OS Michael Colbourne.