UPDATED: Van vandalism doesn't slow naval officers on Children's Wish mission to Yarmouth

Raissa Tetanish
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The side window of one of two vans accompanying the 12-person team, crew members of the Canadian Warship HMCS HALIFAX, had its side window smashed and thieves made off with five, $100 bills set aside for gas money.

TC MEDIA

A dozen naval officers weren't going to let the actions of at least one person slow them down too much.

The crew from the Canadian warship HMCS Halifax awoke Thursday morning after arriving in Truro the night before to find a window to one of their sponsored vans smashed. The team is running from Cape Breton to Yarmouth to raise money to grant a wish through the Children's Wish Foundation.

"They stole $500 from us," said Petty Officer Second Class Jay DeWolfe.

"There were five $100 bills inside a bag," added Petty Officer First Class Jamie Apthorpe. "It was our emergency gas money for if our sponsored gas cards ran out. We can easily make up the money that was lost, but the damage that was sustained ... it was about a $1,000 piece of glass, if not more."

While part of the team took the van to Speedy Auto Glass Thursday morning for a patch, which was donated to the cause, the remainder of the team hit Highway 2 to continue to Yarmouth.

"This is the best thing I've ever done with the military," said DeWolfe. "We know all the effort is going to something worthwhile. This is my third year running for Children's Wish and it makes all the difference in the world."

DeWolfe said his wife works at the IWK Children's Hospital in Halifax and deals with a lot of sick children.

"Having a wish granted makes a big difference in their recovery," the petty officer said. "This helps their endurance a lot. They're already strong kids, but this helps get them through."

The team's fundraising goal this year is $30,000 to help three-year-old Charlie have a pirate party. Before he was born, Charlie was diagnosed with Tetralogy of Fallot, a complete congenital heart defect. He's undergone numerous surgeries already in his lifetime, and has a few more in his future.

"It's really handy to have a ship of sailors helping grant that wish for a pirate party," said Lt. Charlotte Farish, one of two women on the run that began on Monday.

Along the route, the runners have been stopping into various schools and communities, and people, said Farish, have been very supportive.

"The reception has all been great, which is awesome to see. And all the schools we have been going to are also raising money for Children's Wish," she said.

While the crew makes its way to Yarmouth, Charlie will join them today in Halifax for a bit of a ride.

When the final donation is made to Children's Wish in Halifax on May 23, there may just be a few more officers joining in.

"The ship's company will join in the run from the legion to help present the total raised. We hope to have all 200 or more join us," said Farish.

"It will be quite the sight," added DeWolfe.

Over the past 10 years, HMCS Halifax has raised more than $125,000 for Children's Wish.

"This has been the most exciting part to my career so far," said Farish. "It's been incredible."

For more information or to make a donation, visit www.childrenswish.ca.

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  • Mike Miller
    May 20, 2014 - 02:03

    What a great group of Sailor's, Soldiers and Airmen. They really have a great spirit of giving and sharing.

  • DMiller
    May 17, 2014 - 03:04

    "The team's fundraising goal this year is $30,000 to help three-year-old Charlie have a pirate party." Not condoning the theft and damages but I beg to inquire how a "Pirate Party" for a 3 year old can come with a price tag of $30,000. That is just crazy when kids are hungry in this city.