Run the Rock 2017 brings in $107,000 for Children’s Wish
By Ryan Melanson,
They’ve only been members of the ship’s company for a few weeks, but 16 sailors from HMCS St. John’s have so far used that time wisely, completing the 2017 Run the Rock campaign and raising more than $100,000 for the Children’s Wish Foundation.
The annual program, now in its 22nd year, took place from July 24 – August 5, and saw the team pound pavement across Newfoundland relay style for a total of 900 kilometres from the starting point of Port aux Basques to the grande finale in the ship’s namesake city of St. John’s. Other stops along the way included St. George’s, Corner Brook, Deer Lake and Gander, among others.
With the frigate and its former crew only returning to Halifax from its Op REASSURANCE deployment on July 17, personnel from the incoming ship’s company were asked to take charge and lead this year’s campaign. Along with the daily runs through communities and along the province’s highways, the team visited local schools, legions, town halls and other locations along the way, meeting with supporters, collecting donations and getting fed lots of hot meals. The stops also included meeting with Children’s Wish Society ambassadors and wish recipients, allowing members the chance to talk with children and families who’ve been helped by the foundation.
And while RCN sailors come from all corners of the country, five of this year’s Run the Rock team members were true Newfoundlanders who were happy to help out in their home province while being good ambassadors for the Navy. CPO2 Jason Roberts, originally from Port Aux Basques, enjoyed finally having a chance to take part in the long-running fundraiser.
“This is my first time being posted to the St.John’s ship, and the run of course is only for the crewmembers, so once I got the opportunity this is a challenge I was happy to accept,” he said.
The running team normally starts campaigning and soliciting early donations months ahead of time, but because of the ship’s long deployment and then crew change, preparation for this year’s run was condensed and required extra effort from the sailors. In the end, however, they pulled off a campaign every bit as successful as in previous years, presenting a cheque for $107,000 to the Children’s Wish Foundation Newfoundland and Labrador Chapter to cap off Run the Rock in St. John’s on August 5, with the ship’s new command team also making the trip to St. John’s for the occasion.
“We couldn’t have done it without the entire province coming together and giving money, giving food, high fives, honks, and everything else. We really appreciate everybody who helped us out and supported the cause,” said LS Shauna Houston.
The team wished to remind supporters that campaigning on behalf of Children’s Wish is a year-long effort for the ship, and that support for the organization is just as important now that Run the Rock has wrapped for 2017. To make a donation in support of local children with life-threatening illnesses, visit http://childrenswish.ca