WINDSOR, ONT. -- In honour of Run for Rocky Day an additional $8,000 donation to Family Services Windsor Essex has been announced to help continue counselling services for members of the LGBTQ+ community.

Run for Rocky Day 2021 was marked Friday morning by raising the Progressive Pride Flag at Charles Clark Square. Once the flag was raised all flags were lowered to half-mast to commemorate the death of Prince Philip.

“Today we are announcing an additional $8,000 donation will be made to Family Services Windsor Essex to continue Run for Rocky counselling services for LGBTQ folks and Rainbow Families in our community,” a news release from the Run for Rocky Legacy Project states. “The $10,000 given last year on Run for Rocky Day has been fully utilized and we are thankful that we have been able to help fund much needed counselling services during this challenging time.”

The release says Family Services Windsor Essex has had an increase each quarter for the needs of these services according to Beth Anne Ternovan, manager of counselling and employee assistance program.

Some of the reasons for the increase include more youth under 18 accessing the service, more people are aware of the Run for Rocky funding and have been reaching out, clients that are already engaged are continuing with sessions and more people reported anxiety, personal stress and sexuality/gender-related issues as the top three concerns.

In addition to the funding announcement, the Campana Family says they are also looking forward to the possible return of the Run/Walk event in August 2022 to coincide with the Windsor Essex Pride Fest activities.

April 9, 2022 will mark the five-year anniversary of the last run/walk event.

“2022 is shaping up to be the perfect time to bring back the event as well as together all LGBTQ partner organizations in the community,” the release says.

While schools are not running as usual due to the pandemic, Run for Rocky says it continues to support GSAs and local partners. A recently approved grant to Trans Wellness Windsor was made to cover the costs of their new Queer Museum.

Run for Rocky has also been working alongside LaSalle resident Brenda Bot Drake for the installation of a Pride Crosswalk in the town. If the project moves forward, it will be the first Pride crosswalk on municipal property in Essex County. Run for Rocky says Essex County is currently one of the only regions in the province without a Pride crosswalk.

Until April 22, the organization says all Run for Rocky donations will be reserved for the LaSalle Crosswalk project (unless donors indicate otherwise). Donations for Run for Rocky can be made on the organization’s website.