By Sharon Weatherall
BEAUSOLEIL FIRST NATION – This week Christian Island Elementary School joined thousands of other people in schools and communities across Canada to celebrate the memory of Terry Fox.
For 35 years run and walk events have been taking place to honour the young man who had become a legend by creating awareness and fundraising in the name of cancer research. Terry Fox’s courageous effort to run across Canada has resulted in millions of dollars per year which go towards helping treat people with the disease.
“Terry Fox events are a good way to create awareness and I am pretty sure that there is no one in Canada that doesn’t know about what he did. The pledge sheets are a good way to raise money for it,” said CIES Grade 8 students Starr Carless.
“My great grandmother passed away from a sort of cancer that they couldn’t remove so that is why I want to support it and for others too.”
This year the Beausoleil First Nation School of 104 students raised approximately $900.00 during a two day canvass.
“It was a great effort and I’m very proud of them all for doing such a good job in such a short time,” said Principal Angela Johnson.
“We had a junior kindergarten student Quinn Smith raise the most this year with a total of $142.00 and Kyree King from senior kindergarten was a close second raising $113.00. It is so nice to see this from the little ones.”
The day was organised by Trudy King who has coordinated the event for several years now.
“I took it on because a lot of my family members have passed away in the past from cancer including my brother – we have had six different kinds of cancer in the family,” said King.
The day started off with all of the students gathering in the school’s multi-purpose room to watch a small video which included original footage from Terry Fox’s actual run and efforts 35 years ago. At the age of 18 Terry lost his right leg to cancer and three years later he set out to do something to help raise awareness by his legendary trek across Canada.
Unfortunately he only made it about half way before he got too sick to continue and had to stop. He passed away a few months later.
Following the video guest speaker Sharon Weatherall shared her journey with cancer saying how the funds raised through Terry Fox events go towards medications and services to assist those with the disease. She said there are many new treatments being tried which are beneficial to people with cancer. The students were receptive to this message.
“I think the event is important. Terry Fox had cancer and he did the run. I want to help out in what Terry Fox started,” said Grade 6 student Hannah Assance. After doing some yoga exercises the students headed out on a 3 km. walk/run on the island which took about an hour to complete. Back at the school everyone enjoyed fruit snacks and drinks.
In class following the event the teachers continued discussing Terry Fox and cancer in class.
“It gets the kids talking about it. Teachers have been given access to terryfox.org to help with lesson plans about how cancer can affect the life and family of a sick person and the community at large. Terry Fox events show how our efforts are successful and how the community can help by donating towards the cause,” said co-organizer Rebecca Birtzu.