A run for a good cause

The Compass - - NEWS - BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER nmercer@cb­n­com­pass.ca

Rose and Ger­ard French of Bay Roberts know what it’s like to lose a son.

In 2000, they lost their 14-year-old son Gary French af­ter an ac­ci­dent at an Amal­ga­mated Acad­emy school dance.

So when the call came to help out a fam­ily friend af­ter he lost a son, they were quick to of­fer their ser­vices and an­swer the call.

In May, an ac­ci­dent on the Vet­eran’s Memo­rial High­way claimed the life of a 35-yearold woman and a 67-year-old man, while leav­ing a 33-yearold man in se­ri­ous con­di­tion. A few days later, the younger man suc­cumbed to his in­juries in hos­pi­tal. Amanda Rees, 35, and Don­ald Snow, 33, were two of the three killed in the ac­ci­dent.

They left be­hind three sons to live with the ma­ter­nal and pa­ter­nal grand­par­ents.

Al­most im­me­di­ately, the Frenchs, along with Brian Drover, Shel­ley Drover, Dean Spicer and Deanne Spicer started work­ing out a way to help the fam­ily, more specif­i­cally the grand­fa­ther Eric and the three boys.

“When this hap­pened … the six of us started talk­ing and said we had to do some­thing,” said Ger­ard. “We said we had to do some­thing to help them out.”

The re­sult was an event they called “Ride For The Boys,” a day­long all-ter­rain ve­hi­cle run leav­ing from the Gary French Memo­rial Speed­way in Bay Roberts on the morn­ing of July 23 and us­ing plenty of the old Janeway run from years ago.

Plan­ning for the event started sev­eral weeks ago, and along with some ad­di­tional mem­bers to the com­mit­tee, things started fall­ing into place.

Posters were made and distributed through­out the re­gion by the group, along with spon­sor­ship let­ters.

They’ve been ask­ing busi­nesses for do­na­tions of any kind to go into a trust for the three boys.

“Re­sponse has been re­ally good,” said Rose.

To date, the group has raised over $1,000.

The evening of the run, the group is cap­ping the day with a dance. Orig­i­nally, the group had tar­geted the Lion’s Club on Bare­need Road to hold it, but plans changed.

July 23 marks the start of the an­nual Klondyke Days and Bay Roberts planned on hold­ing a shed party at the sta­dium at the same time. Gra­ciously, the town’s spe­cial events com­mit­tee of­fered to give them the space or move the event all to­gether so as not to clash with the dance at the Li­ons Club.

Af­ter some con­ver­sa­tion, it was agreed they’d use the Bay Arena.

“It’s any­thing we want to do over there. If we want to sell tick­ets, we can,” said Rose.

“To a point, they were over­whelmed with us even go­ing along with it,” added Ger­ard.

Com­mu­nity chip­ping in

The kitchen at the French’s Coun­try Road home is full of gifts do­nated by var­i­ous peo­ple and busi­nesses from around the area.

We want to pro­vide as much a liveli­hood for those boys as if their mom and dad were still here. Ger­ard French

At the dance that night, they’ll be handed out through ticket draws. The town has also agreed to give the group the pro­ceeds from the door for the event.

Not only that, but the trail is be­ing groomed through do­na­tions and a bridge was re­paired through build­ing sup­plies do­nated by a lo­cal busi­ness.

“There’s a lot of peo­ple com­ing to­gether for this,” said Ger­ard.

“Ev­ery­body is help­ing us,” added Rose.

The group hopes to make this an an­nual event and keep adding to the trust for the boys.

“We want to pro­vide as much a liveli­hood for those boys as if their mom and dad were still here,” said Ger­ard.

NI­CHOLAS MERCER/THE COM­PASS

Rose and Ger­ard French are part of a group putting off the “Run For The Boys” fundrais­ing event on July 23.

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