A young man who inspired community awareness about gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth in Windsor and London, received a posthumous award at Pride Week in Toronto on the weekend.
Rocky Campana was gay. He was often troubled by the fact some other young, gay people didn't have the love and support of their families, the way he did.
It was Campana's ambition to go into high schools to talk about accepting each other, no matter sexuality, popularity, race, income level or religion.
He was pleased when the Ontario government allowed gay-straight alliances in schools.
For years, he helped raise money during Toronto Pride Week. He also ran in the Pride and Remembrance run in Toronto. This year, his family was to join him.
However, Campana was 23 when he took his own life last year.
Rocky's family created the run and accepted the Bill Graham Award on behalf of her son.
"It was emotional," Nancy Campana said.
The Bill Graham Award was established in 2008 by the Pride and Remembrance Association to recognize service to the LGBT community through demonstrated volunteerism and/or community leadership.
Members of the community nominate individuals for the award.
"They were watching not only the work Rocky was doing but also the path he created for us as a family to carry on in his name. We took that torch and ran with it," Nancy Campana said.
The award includes a $1,000 prize. Nancy Campana said she'll donate the money to the Run for Rocky, a local fundraiser for Windsor Pride, which will then help fund school programs for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students and their parents.
"When Rocky came out in high school, he was one of the very few. He took his partner to prom at Sandwich high school, which was a first," Nancy Campana said. "More and more kids are coming out in high school and they need support."
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, who is the first out premier in Canada, presented the award.
"It would have made him ecstatic," Campana said.