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Our Story - Why JONO?

Josh Carabin


June 8, 2020

Our Story - Why “JONO”? 

May 4th is a special day for the Carabin is Jonny’s birthday! It’s been 10 years since Jonny left us. I have never shared on social media about Jonny. And I don’t really know why. I don’t have some stupid tough guy  “keep it to myself” mentality around his death, or think that social media is a bad place for expressing grief (I’ve come to see that it can be helpful). Simply decided I would share with you guys this morning. Anyways, this is part of my and Charissey’s story to starting JONO Athletics...

Wednesday, August 18, 2010 I sat at my desk in Guelph, Ontario working on what I was going to say to a group of young people that coming Sunday (I was a youth pastor at a local church). I can remember every detail of that particular was a beautiful sunny day, I was preparing my notes, and in a great mood! My phone rang and I saw that it was my older brother Rick (Ricky) and I answered the call with the same usual excitement I had for whenever someone from home called….

“Rickkyyyyy!” I said….(I never answer Ricky's call with a hello)

“Hey Joshie,” he said but it was not the same voice. I hadn't ever heard his voice like this... ever….and I knew instantly that something was wrong. 

“Wowwww what’s wrong man?” I said

“Joshie, Jonny was in an accident on his bike today (motorcycle)…..he didn’t make it.”

“What do you mean he didn’t make it?” I asked

“Jonny died, Josh,” he said. “I’m sorry Joshie.” 

Worst moment of my life. 

We proceeded to cry for a long time until I decided to call Charissey. Charisse left work immediately and came to help me. I was clearly in shock because it felt like moments between when I called her and when she walked into my office. (She worked a half hour drive away.)


Jonny is the kind of guy that when he walked into a room everyone’s heart smiled. He had a laugh so contagious that it didn’t matter if you were part of the conversation, you were going to smile :) But let's be honest, for those of us who knew him it was his “wit” that always had us laughing. 

At 6’2 and pure muscle he would've been awesome at JONO Athletics. An incredible hockey player that couldn’t fight his way out of a paper bag, but give him a puck and you're likely not getting it back without taking a penalty. He brought a level of joy into the lives of everyone he encountered that it didn’t matter if you were on his team or not you loved him. Jonny was a “light” in so many peoples lives that when he died we had to tell the funeral director that his funeral home wasn’t big enough...he respectfully said we should be ok….we had to rent to Membertou Trade and Convention Centre to fit all the folks that came to Jonny’s funeral. Over 1500. That # alone sheds such an incredible testimony to who he is. Not was …..IS. 

Someone asked me recently “with one word sum up what you want the gym to be or your purpose for the gym” ….my answer ...Joy. 

I want people to feel a depth of happiness / Joy that is strangely hard to explain and yet undeniably real.

We named the gym after Jonny as a way to honour and remember him but also fitting if there was one word among many that described Jonny….Joy would be it. He brought a level Joy hard to find anywhere else. 

Friday I will write about the reality that Jonny IS not dead but very much alive. 

As a deeply spiritual person / couple it is impossible for us to tell Our Story without adding the spiritual component into it. For those of you that know me personally you know that I never have and never will stuff my beliefs down your throat. Instead, hopefully my beliefs have done nothing but make you feel more loved. But I do believe that some clarification is needed to help you understand on where / how Charisse and I come to make our decisions. It’ll likely surprise you. 

See you Friday :)

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