Rafters raise $36k for Make A Wish

Hoping to raise $36,000 in 36 hours for the New Hampshire chapter of the Make A Wish Foundation, Jason Tremblay, of Merrimack, and Jason Perry spent a day and a half floating on a raft in the middle of the Merrimack River near Arms Park in Manchester.

Both men agreed that this was a most rewarding experience.

“When I got off the raft and looking back, it was an amazing experience. It definitely changed my life,” Tremblay said.

Tremblay and Perry’s experience not only affected their personal lives, but it will also impact New Hampshire children as the state chapter of the Make A Wish Foundation comes closer to granting its 1,000th wish.

Tremblay and Perry brought extra clothes, towels, water, snacks and a portable toilet on the raft with them. Once the men got on the raft, they realized that they had brought too much along.

They were able to communicate with volunteers and supporters, many of whom were wish families, through a two-way radio.

“Talking to the wish families on our two-way radio was great. They came out to support us,” Perry said.

At night, they had a large light shining on them so the volunteers could make sure they were safe and did not float away.

As for the bugs at night, the men stayed inside the raft from midnight until after 4 a.m. because the bug spray they brought did very little to repel the flying spider-like creatures, Perry said.

Tremblay and Perry enjoyed listening to the different sounds throughout the night, many of which can not be heard from the shore.

Perry pointed out that a church bell tolled each hour, which helped keep the men awake.

There were many volunteers on shore throughout the entire 36 hours. Local businesses donated meals for Tremblay and Perry and supporters came with extra snacks for the men.

Donations are still coming in, but Donna Parker, director of development at the New Hampshire chapter of the Make A Wish Foundation said Tremblay and Perry have raised $36,000, with a great outpouring of support from friends and family.

Anyone who wishes to donate to Jason Tremblay and Jason Perry’s Merrimack River Raft Challenge for Make A Wish may still do so by visiting http://newhampshire.wish.org/2011/07/14/merrimack-river-raft-challenge.