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School District 42 students keep Terry Fox’s memory alive

Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows schools will join millions of students across the country in participating in the Terry Fox School Run this week to raise awareness and funds for cancer research.

And classes in School District 42 are finding unique ways of keeping Terry’s memory alive.

Students at Alexander Robinson are busy raising money as they work to achieve a goal of $2,000. If the milestone is achieved, principal Adam Stanley has promised he will dye his hair electric blue live on Zoom in front of the whole school. Music teacher Todd Oleksyn has also agreed to shave his head.

“It makes for a great broadcast,” said Stanley. “Largely because the dye our VP puts on my hair burns and the kids really seem to like that.”

In the lead up to this week’s run, Kanaka Creek, c̓əsqənelə, and Maple Ridge Elementary are holding coin drives, while students at Laity View organized an online fundraising page.

Alouette Elementary has divided its students into fundraising teams, with the top two teams taking part in an afternoon movie and treat party. The school is also holding a daily Terry Trivia Contest on its morning announcements.

This week’s runs will take place at schools across the district and will follow all public health protocols. Schools are making use of outdoor fields and other open grounds and may split the run into shifts to ensure classes are able to spread out.

Terry lost his leg to osteogenic sarcoma at age 18, underwent 16 months of treatment and found he could not ignore the suffering he witnessed in the cancer wards.

In 1980, he began running across Canada to raise money for cancer research as part of the Marathon of Hope. He ran 26 miles a day through Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, and Ontario, stopping in more than 400 towns, schools, and cities to talk about why he was running.

Sadly, after 143 days and 5,373 km, Terry was forced to stop his marathon after learning that the cancer had appeared in his lungs. He died on June 28, 1981, at the age of 22.

Today, more than three million students from coast to coast to coast are taking up Terry’s cause. To date, more than $850 million has been raised in Terry’s name for cancer research and Terry Fox runs continue to be held in schools and communities around the world.

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