The spirit of Terry Fox was alive on the Peninsula last week, as schools in the community prepared for the annual run commemorating the Canadian hero.
Students at Bayridge Elementary – who raised $1,157 for the Terry Fox Foundation – were treated to a visit from Fred Fox, Terry’s older brother, Friday, who spoke to the crowd of students about his brother’s journey from being a regular teen in Port Coquitlam to becoming a national symbol of perseverance.
“He saw other people going through the same thing,” Fox recalled of his brother’s diagnosis and rehabilitation. “People younger, people older – and that changed Terry’s life. He decided he wanted to do something to make a difference.”
Students throughout the Surrey School District wore tags on the front of their shirts with the name of a loved one affected by cancer who they were dedicating their run for.
For Chantrell Creek Elementary students Jack and Abby Barron, the $1,125 they raised for the Terry Fox Foundation was in honour of their grandmother, Wendy Milligan, who passed away from complications of cancer in July.
In June, Jack had organized a penny drive for his grandma, raising $860 for the BC Cancer Foundation.
The seven-year-old and his big sister participated in the school’s annual run at Crescent Park on Sept. 26 wearing their grandmother’s name on the front of their shirts.
While hundreds of students laced up their shoes for the walk/run, White Rock octogenarian Stan Fryer proved that people of all ages can honour Fox’s legacy by participating.
The 87-year-old completed the walk with his son and Semiahmoo Secondary teacher, Brian Fryer, during the school’s run on Thursday.
The former competitive runner – who walks more than six kilometres a day – said he could still remember when Fox embarked on his run.
“A lot of these kids couldn’t wouldn’t have seen him except for on television, but I remember the process of him going across Canada and it touches your heart. It was an incredible thing, and it brought a lot of tears to peoples’ eyes when he couldn’t finish the run,’ Fryer said. “I think it’s wonderful that someone like Terry Fox is able to inspire young people to walk, even though he’s not here.”
To date, the Terry Fox Foundation has raised more than $600 million for cancer research. For more info, visit www.terryfox.org/Run/