The Run For Rocky took place annually starting in April of 2013 for 5 years until April of 2017. The fundraising efforts during this time established the Run for Rocky Legacy Fund that supports Gay Straight Alliance Clubs in local Grade schools (Senior years) high schools and post-secondary schools in Windsor-Essex County. This financial support includes GSA grants, GSA scholarships, funds students and educators to go to GSA educational conferences, supplies educational resources that help support parents and educators, provides a GSA Toolkit with Booster Boxes yearly for GSA Educational Leaders and accommodates Diversity Training for educators. After a 5 year hiatus and by popular demand the Run for Rocky 5km run/3 km walk returned in August of 2022 in conjunction with the Windsor-Essex PrideFest. The event takes place along the beautiful Windsor Waterfront from Dieppe Gardens to the Ambassador Bridge. With an incomparable view of the Detroit River and Skyline along this route this is one of the most beautiful Pride run/walk events in Ontario.
The Run for Rocky Legacy Project also continues to collect donations and sanction approved third party events to ensure the legacy of this event continues and the funding model remains intact. The proceeds for of the Run for Rocky event continue to support the Run for Rocky funding model as well as help support partner 2SLGBTQI+ agencies in the region including Windsor Pride Community, Windsor-Essex Pride Fest and Trans Wellness Ontario. The funding portion given to each of these agencies through the Run for Rocky Legacy Fund is used only for counselling support and educational services.
As a family we understand that the Run for Rocky has helped to make great change in the acceptance of LGBTQ diversity in our community. The legacy of Rocky’s life and his advocacy work will live on with the continuation of this fund. Our community, schools, homes and workplaces have become more accepting and open places. There is greater support and services for those who are LGBTQ and live and work in the area. We understand how important this support is to businesses, families and educators in our community. The difference Run for Rocky has made now allows for the LGBTQ community to run with the torch and to continue the advocacy work with a stronger voice than in the past. Run for Rocky funding will continue for years to come to reinforce these efforts and ensure both students and educators are supported in our community.
Run for Rocky is a charity run/walk in Windsor Ontario which is inspired by Rocky Campana who passed away in 2012 after attempting to take his own life. The Campana Family, along with the Windsor Pride Community, wanted to share Rocky’s story. Through their collaboration, they have been able to fund GSAs in the local high school and post-secondary school systems, ensuring that parents, educators and youth have the knowledge and funding needed to help create Safe Schools, and creating a support system for youth in times of crisis. Rocky paved the path to make a difference while living, and the Run for Rocky Legacy Fund will continue to make a significant difference in his absence for years to come.
Rocky was a shining star, an achiever and proud to be gay. He had everything in life to live for, including a high profile new job and a family he adored and who supported him endlessly with great pride. It is now apparent that Rocky suffered from depression. We understand that if this scenario is possible in our family it is a risk for any family with an LGBTQ youth. Rocky made a difference in life and as a family we are determined his message continues to be delivered and makes a difference in others’ lives.
Rocky was a graduate of the University of Western Ontario’s Richard Ivey School of Business Graduate Program. Rocky had four Case Studies published by the Richard Ivey School of Business, which continue to be used in universities throughout the United States and Canada. During his time at Western, he maintained an Honours average while working 30 to 40 hours a week and volunteering almost daily. Rocky was involved with the Pride Library, initiated the Street Meat Program to raise funds for The Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation, organized movie premiere bus trips for the debut of hot movies for resident students, volunteered for the Alzheimer’s Society, was a Resident Assistant and Soccer League House League Convenor . He also ran yearly in Toronto’s Pride and Remembrance Run, raising a significant amount of money for the signature charity each year. At the 2013 Toronto Pride and Remembrance Run, Rocky Campana’s family accepted The Bill Graham Award presented to Rocky posthumously by Premier Kathleen Wynn. The Bill Graham Award was established in 2008 by the Pride and Remembrance Association to recognize service to the LGBT community through demonstrated volunteerism and/or community leadership.
What people remember most about Rocky was his sheer determination to be the best at whatever he attempted and his ability to make everyone he met feel special. People also remember his vocal determination to create change to help youth in the LGBT community during the challenging process of coming out. Rocky was hoping to help bring a National Suicide Hotline program for LGBT Youth to Canada, a void he felt was lacking nationally.
Rocky had just begun his dream job at Proctor and Gamble weeks before his passing. Part of his duties included community service hours. Rocky’s ambition was to go into high schools and to talk to students about accepting others for who they are, regardless of their sexuality, popularity, race, religion, and income level. Rocky was passionate about taking care of those who were treated unjustly in life. He was ecstatic when the Ontario government passed the bill to mandate GSAs in high schools. It is fitting that the Run for Rocky in Windsor will help fund educational programs and speakers in partnership with GSAs in the local school systems. This program is the first of its kind in Canada and is now being looked at as a pilot project that will be taken across Canada to help fund GSAs in all high schools nationally.
Since the inception of the Run for Rocky Legacy Project over $400,000 has been raised with overwhelming corporate and community support. This event was the very first of its kind in Ontario helping to raise money to support the newly initiated GSAs in the school system. Rocky’s parents Nancy & Rob understood that without funding, GSA programming would be unable to reach its full potential, and saw a need to bring a significant change in this area. The funds brought in through fundraising efforts yearly are used to help expand support of educational programming for both parents, educators, workplaces and our local youth at the school level ensuring that Gay Straight Alliances start at home and are reinforced in a supportive and accepting school & workplace environments. The Run for Rocky Legacy Project funding model includes education programs for parents, youth and educators, GSA leadership mentoring programs, youth mental health awareness programs, youth suicide prevention programming for all students and scholarship opportunities for those involved in their GSA’s.
The inaugural Run for Rocky also coincided with an organ donation change petition brought forth to the House of Commons in May of 2014 with a request for policy changes by Health Canada in their Blood and Organ Donation policies. The discrepancies in Canada’s blood and organ donation system became apparent when the Campana family were unable to donate Rocky’s organs at the time of his death. Now that the petition has been tabled further work with government, organ donation foundations and the medical community is taking place to ensure change in policy is made in the future. Nancy Campana was asked in the Spring of 2019 to sit on the Canadian Organ Donation and Transplantation Collaborative Committee. A group of Doctors, Researchers, Organ Donation Organization directors and Patient Advocates from across Canada who have been appointed to help make sweeping changes across the country in organ donation procedures, policies and efficiencies.
In December of 2017 Nancy and Rob were recognized for their work creating the only funding model of its kind in Canada to support GSA’s by the Canadian Government and were presented with Meritorious Service Medals by the Governor General of Canada
Learn more here
April 9th has been officially declared Run for Rocky Day in Windsor but donations can be made to Windsor Pride-Run for Rocky yearlong or by participating in the Run for Rocky event.
Register to take part or donate to a participant HERE
Become a Legacy, Title, Media Mogul, Kind or Sharing Sponsor for Run for Rocky Event by making a donation to the cause.
Contact our office to receive your R4R Walk/Run Kit. High School GSAs will be able to put all funds raised toward their own GSA projects and high school grant funding.
Host a “Rock Your Rainbow” day. Encourage staff to donate $2 to Run for Rocky Legacy Project and encourage them to to wear bright rainbow colours to work on this special day.
When someone you love passes away, choosing a charity to collect memorial donations is a very personal decision that a family has to make. This decision often reflects the passions or characteristics of the person you have lost. If LGBTQ issues were important to your loved one, consider directing memorial donations to Windsor Pride-Run for Rocky.
Are you looking for a cause to support in lieu of guest gifts? If LGBTQ youth issues are close to your heart, consider a donation to Windsor Pride-Run for Rocky in lieu of gifting.
Donate to Windsor Pride Run for Rocky any time during the year through the link below – we thank you for your great generosity!
(Charitable tax receipts will be issued for donations of $20 or more)
If your highschool is involved with GSA’s, you are eligible to apply for yearly Run for Rocky GSA Project Grants.