Even after the last runner crosses the finish line at the final Run for Rocky event Sunday, the Campana family hopes the momentum they've built over the past five years will keep LGBT activism in Windsor moving in the right direction.
The annual event was organized by Rocky's parents Rob and Nancy after the young man from LaSalle took his own life. Rocky wanted his organs donated, but his wish was denied — his family believes its because he was gay.
Over the past four years the five-kilometre run has raised $273,000 to support local programs for Windsor Pride and to set up Gay Straight Alliances (GSAs) in schools.
"When I started approaching people saying we were raising money for GSAs in high schools, people were sort of looking at me like 'What's a GSA?'" said Rob. "It's amazing how the community embraced it and ran with it."
Plan was to end event after five years
The family planned all along to end the run after five years, so the event could end on a high note and wouldn't be a burden on friends and local businesses, who have consistently donated money, according to Rob.
Nancy said this year's run has already raised $40,000 and should reach $75,000 by the time the race is finished. She said high school was the toughest time of Rocky's life, so the family is glad they could help other gay and lesbian students during those difficult years.
"Our city now has a lot of support, not only for kids and parents, but for educators too," she said.
Nancy said her goal now is to work with the city's politicians to continue to make Windsor LGBT friendly.
"The end of the event on Sunday means a new beginning here in Windsor," she said. "We will continue to encourage people to give to Run for Rocky."