Terry Fox Run takes on a per­sonal note in Vul­can

Prairie Post (West Edition) - - Southern Alberta - BY CRAIG AL­BRECHT PAL­LISER SCHOOLS

Many Pal­liser schools ded­i­cate event to af­fected fam­ily and friends

Each Terry Fox Run is an­other year re­moved from his fundrais­ing marathon, cut trag­i­cally short in 1980.

Un­for­tu­nately, can­cer con­tin­ues to cut a deadly swath through each new gen­er­a­tion. While staff and stu­dents across Pal­liser Re­gional Schools are cel­e­brat­ing the legacy of Terry Fox by rais­ing funds for can­cer re­search, many are mark­ing the oc­ca­sion with a per­sonal story.

Some are can­cer sur­vivors close to those stu­dents, while oth­ers are hon­oured posthu­mously. Com­mu­nity mem­bers joined stu­dents and staff at Vul­can Prairieview Ele­men­tary School in ded­i­cat­ing this year’s run to Mitch Malm­berg.

“If we are rais­ing money for can­cer, this one’s a pretty im­por­tant rea­son,” says Prin­ci­pal Tracy In­aba of the Grade 4 stu­dent, who passed away last April shortly af­ter be­ing di­ag­nosed with can­cer. “We have al­ready lost of one of our fam­ily, we don’t want to lose any­one else if we can do any­thing about it.”

This year the school of about 200 stu­dents or­dered 350 red, ‘Run­ning for Mitch’ shirts to ac­com­mo­date his fam­ily and friends who wanted to show their sup­port. Staff and stu­dents at nearby County Cen­tral High School – where two of Mitch’s three sib­lings are en­rolled – also took part.

In re­cent runs, Prairieview hon­oured a staff mem­ber bat­tling can­cer. In­aba says Run­ning for Mitch brought the re­al­ity of can­cer even closer to home for the stu­dents.

“They are all very well aware of the im­por­tance of (the Terry Fox Run), now more than they ever were,” she says.

Re­mem­ber­ing Terry’s legacy isn’t the only mes­sage In­aba hoped her stu­dents got out of the event.

“I also want them to know they can make a dif­fer­ence with ev­ery lit­tle ges­ture they do,” she says.

Staff and stu­dents of Coal­hurst Ele­men­tary School walked the few blocks to Coal­hurst High School to take part in a joint Terry Fox Run.

Many of the young stu­dents wore stick­ers ex­plain­ing who they were run­ning for. Jack Hewlett and his younger sis­ter, Faith, were run­ning for their father. He was di­ag­nosed with thy­roid can­cer last fall and had suc­cess­ful surgery in Jan­uary.

Prior to the run, stu­dents gath­ered in the high school gym to watch a video doc­u­ment­ing Terry’s story and his ab­bre­vi­ated Marathon of Hope.

They also learned about med­i­cal ad­vances since Terry’s death, and the fact that 80 per cent of chil­dren with can­cer are cured to­day. The goal, how­ever, is a 100 per cent cure rate for all. They heard more money means more re­search. And more re­search means more hope.

Jack and Faith were asked how they might raise hope in a fel­low stu­dent whose mother or father are bat­tling can­cer.

“If it was the same thing, I’d prob­a­bly say it’s go­ing to be OK be­cause my dad went through it,” says Jack, a Grade 4 stu­dent. “Or like, pray for them.”

“To make them feel bet­ter, we could say that so they wouldn’t think their mom or dad was go­ing to die or some­thing,” adds Faith, a Grade 2 stu­dent at Coal­hurst Ele­men­tary School.

Terry Fox was forced to stop his run out­side of Thun­der Bay, Ont. – af­ter 143 days and 5,373 kilo­me­tres – when it was dis­cov­ered his can­cer had spread. He passed away June 28, 1981 at the age 22.

His legacy lives on, how­ever, with more than $750 mil­lion raised world­wide for can­cer re­search through the an­nual Terry Fox Run. For more in­for­ma­tion on Terry Fox, go to http://www.ter­ry­fox.org/ter­rys-story/

Pal­liser School pho­tos

Shown: A Coal­hurst Ele­men­tary School stu­dent gives the Coal­hurst High School mas­cot a high-five dur­ing the Terry Fox Run. Be­low left:Stu­dents at Vul­can Prairieview Ele­men­tary School show off their ‘Run­ning for Mitch’ T-shirts dur­ing the Terry Fox Run.

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