Hillview Elementary students Lukas Aiechele (from left to right)

Hillview Elementary students Lukas Aiechele (from left to right)

Run better late than never

Some have since taken place, but organizers remind those who haven’t yet, that it’s never too late to continue Terry Fox’s legacy

The delayed startup of school due to the teachers’ strike caused students across B.C. to miss the annual Terry Fox run in the schools. Some have since taken place, but organizers remind those who haven’t yet, that it’s never too late to continue Fox’s legacy.

“Just because the national Terry Fox school run day (Sept. 24) has passed doesn’t mean that there isn’t still time,” said Donna White, Terry Fox Foundation provincial director. “Any time between now and the end of June next year is good.”

With schools not getting back in session until Sept. 22, White says obviously teachers couldn’t be expected to organize the school run in just two days.

Yet many schools have since hosted runs – for example, Hillview kids ran Sept. 26 while BX and Silver Star elementary students were  making laps in their school fields Friday.

“Students were asked to earn a toonie and bring it in to support the cancer foundation,” said BX principal Tyler Galenzoski.

But those schools that have not yet been able to participate are reminded that it is never too late.

“We’re even encouraging events in April,” said White. “April is a great tie-in as that’s when Terry started his run.”

It was April 12, 1980 when Fox dipped his artificial leg into the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of St John’s, Newfoundland, and began his Marathon of Hope.

The run began after Fox was diagnosed with bone cancer at just 18 years old and was forced to have his right leg amputated. Seeing the cancer patients, many of them young children, suffering in hospital made Fox decide to raise money for cancer research.

“I’m not a dreamer, and I’m not saying this will initiate any kind of definitive answer or cure to cancer, but I believe in miracles. I have to,” he said (terryfox.org).

He ran an average of 42 kilometres a day (26 miles) through six provinces before he was forced to stop running as the cancer had spread to his lungs.

He died less than a year later, but his story and dream have lived on in everyone who has taken part in the past 34 years, including some very important role models in the schools.

“The teachers play an incredible role in the Terry Fox legacy,” said White, adding that the Terry Fox Foundation owes them a debt of gratitude.

White is also encouraged by the numbers, as there are 1,200 schools registered to take part in the run, of the close to 1,400 schools.

And as a cancer survivor, she is also encouraged by the advancements made thanks to Fox.

While his dream of a cure is still being fought for, it’s likely that if Fox had been diagnosed today, doctors may have been able to save his leg.

“Most people diagnosed with that form of bone cancer do not lose limbs, some do, but not all,” said White.

But still, the marathon continues in the fight against the disease which has touched so many people in its many forms.

“Cancer itself is 200 different diseases we’re dealing with,” said White.

For more information, visit www.terryfox.org/schoolrun or call