GoFundMe campaign helps Peterborough couple evacuate Haiti

Heather Rodin of Hope Grows Haiti boards a helicopter at the compound on Tuesday morning. Hope Grows Haiti/Facebook

A GoFundMe campaign has helped a Peterborough, Ont., couple to helicopter out of their charity in Haiti as part of a plan to return to Canada.

On Tuesday morning, Hope Grows Haiti founders Heather and Gord Rodin posted on social media that they were boarding a helicopter which had landed at their secure compound in Grand Goâve, about 65 kilometres west of Port-au-Prince.

“Our Haitian team was very anxious we get away to safety. Which is the first time in 12 years they’ve ever said that to us,” said Heather Rodin.

READ MORE: Peterborough couple trying to leave Haiti amid civil unrest

“We are on our way home! Thank you everyone for your support and prayers,” a message read on the Hope Grows Haiti Facebook page.

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Rising civil unrest has prompted Canadian officials to ask visiting Canadians to the island country to leave.

On Friday, Rodin said supplies were depleting since many roads throughout the region are blocked, including access to the airport in Port-au-Prince. Threats of violence and fears of being taken hostage prompted volunteers at Hope Grows to remain inside their secure compound.

On Monday, eight Canadian nurses who were volunteering were escorted by helicopter from Hope Grows and flown to the airport, supported by a GoFundMe campaign to cover the $2,400 US (approximately $3,200 CDN) charter cost.

A campaign for the Rodins and some of their team reached the goal in less than four hours. Any additional funds will support Hope Grows – a five-acre compound which since 2006 has provided medical, educational and nutritional services to children in the rural, poverty stricken region.

“We were feeling badly that people would need to support us again, but the kids were insistent,” added Rodin.  “When we saw the money roll in, we were overwhelmed for sure.”

READ MORE: GoFundMe to helicopter stranded Canadian nurses to Haiti airport beats goal by over $7,000

The Rodins’ son T.J. tells CHEX News his parents will leave Port au Prince around 3 p.m. and land in Atlanta before a connecting flight to Toronto. They’re expected to land around 12:30 a.m. Wednesday.

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“Saw the journey we’ve taken so many times over the past 12 years from a completely different perspective,” the Rodins tweeted after landing at the airport. “So much beauty but still in such turmoil. God please help #Haiti.”

WATCH: Canadians rescued from Haiti

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