Money raised will go to family of infant needing surgery
© Derek Montague
Dylan Hynes, 23, walked more than 40 kilometres to raise money for a family whose eight-month-old child needs surgery. The walk took him through the entire length of Route 520, between North West River and Happy Valley-Goose Bay.
Ever since it was made public that eight-month-old Charlie Chubbs would need to undergo skull surgery, Labradorians have opened their hearts and wallets to help out the North West River family.
In April, the infant girl was diagnosed with craniosynostosis, a condition where spaces in an infant’s skull, called sutures, prematurely fuse and close. This often leads to the infant having an elongated head.
Charlie will be undergoing the corrective surgery in St. John’s on May 14. Her parents, Spencer and Kristina Chubbs, are facing thousands of dollars in expenses for travel, accommodation, food, and Spencer’s lost wages from work.
People from Labrador have already raised several thousand dollars through a gofundme.com website and other fundraisers.
But on May 12, Dylan Hynes of Happy Valley-Goose Bay took it upon his own shoulders, and feet, to raise a bit more. The 23-year-old walked more than 40 kilometres between his hometown and North West River, collecting money from passerbys along the route.
“I always had this in my mind for awhile now. I always wanted to do a walk for a good cause I just figured it was a good time to do this, since it was one of my friends who needed help,” said Hynes, who has been close friends with Spencer for 10 years.
“I mean, it’s pretty devastating for Spencer and Kristina for sure. And I feel for them, for having to go through this.”
Hynes had begun talking long walks around Happy Valley-Goose Bay for exercise when, in early May, he realized that a long trot could be used as a fundraiser for the Chubbs.
“I started walking and I knew a route around town. And the route that I do is 13 kilometres. And I said to myself, if I can do this, I can do the walk between North West River and Goose Bay,” said Hynes.
“I spread the word on Facebook. I kind of just made a little advertisement. I was hoping that everyone would share it or get the word out and help donate.”
Hynes started the walk at 10:25 a.m. on the North West River bridge. He traveled the full length of Route 520, and stooped once he reached The Labrador Health Centre in Happy Valley. All the while, he carried with him a picture of Charlie, attached to a Labrador flag.
As of May 13, the walk had generated $170 dollars worth of email money transfers, on top of the $90 that was handed to him by passerbys.
The walk, which took nearly seven hours to complete, was certainly tiring on Hynes. But at no point did his motivation lag to finish the journey.
“Well, your body is definitely going to try and shut you down and tell you to stop but when you’re dedicated and you really want to do something, you can do it,” said Hynes.
“It’s all about mentality.”
Online fundraiser a huge success
The biggest fundraising success has been the gofundme.com campaign, which raised $5, 885 in just 15 days.
The site was started by Spencer’s friend and former co-worker, Cara Talbot, who lives in Edmonton, but was born and raised in Happy Valley-Goose Bay.
“I’ve seen on Spencer’s Facebook that his daughter Charlie was having some problems. I just messaged him and asked him to keep me posted on what was happening, because I used to work with him at A&W back in the day,” recalled Talbot.
“He messaged me again a couple weeks later, saying that she had to go for surgery and all of that. So, obviously, it kind of hit home because I have a little boy as well. So anything involving kids always hits home. And it’s also Goose Bay, so everyone knows everyone.”
Talbot was shocked at how quickly the donations came in. The first $5000 was raised in just four days.
“I was not expecting it to get to $5, 000 in four days,” said Talbot. “It just goes to show how great a community Goose Bay is and how, when someone in town is in need, everyone comes together and helps out the best they can.”
The highlight of the online campaign came when an anonymous donor transferred $1, 000 to the gofundme.com account. Talbot was at work when she saw the enormous donation and was overcome with emotion.
“I was at work, and I actually had to go to the bathroom, because I started crying. I was just so shocked,” she said.
Spencer and Kristina have also been overwhelmed by the amount of money that’s been pouring in. The extra cash will ensure that the couple can focus on Charlie’s surgery, instead of financial burdens.
“I don’t know how to express my feelings. We’re shocked and overwhelmed with the amount that people’s giving,” said Spencer.
“At least now we’ll know that we have a place to stay. We know that, when we come back, the house will be paid for. The rent is not going to be due right away. It takes a load off our shoulders. I would just like to thank everyone for everything they did.”