Seven members of the McQuaid Jesuit crew team are participating in the Row for Hope, an over 300 mile row from Buffalo to Albany via the Erie Canal, to raise money for disadvantaged and disabled youth in Western New York.
The boys hope to raise $30,000 for Kelly for Kids, a foundation started in 1986 by former Buffalo Bills quarterback Jim Kelly.
Jonathon Sutton is going to be a senior at McQuaid Jesuit High School next year, and is one of the rowers. He said they chose this cause, because they felt it was important to keep all the funds raised local.
“We wanted to help out people in Western New York. We wanted to see the effect and help out our community.”
Beth Patterson is the “launch mom,” which means she runs the safety boat that follows behind the boys, carrying provisions and making sure they stay safe. Her son Alex Patterson is rowing, and steering the ship. She said physical obstacles aren’t the only concern on this trip.
“We had a couple close calls with some lift bridges that were west of Rochester where the boys actually, they couldn’t sit up in the boat, they had to go flat because theres a 3 foot clearance."
Friends and family members gathered at the Pittsford Boathouse to welcome the rowers in for a lunch break Saturday afternoon, including Congresswoman Louise Slaughter.
The Row for Hope has been an annual event for the McQuaid crew team for 5 years, but none of the boys rowing this year have participated before. The journey continues throughout the week, and the boys plan to make it to Albany by Friday, July 1st.