Strike may delay, but not stop Fox school runs

One of the Terry Fox Foundation’s most effective fundraisers will go ahead, no matter how long the BC school strike drags on.

One of the Terry Fox Foundation’s most effective fundraisers will go ahead, no matter how long the BC school strike drags on.

Each year, close to 1,400 schools throughout B.C. and the Yukon teach their students about Terry Fox and his Marathon of Hope, raise money and do a run in their neighborhood.

Terry Fox Foundation School Coordinator Kirsten Fox says this year’s National School Run Day is scheduled for Sept. 24. Even if students were back in school today, it’s unlikely everyone could get themselves organized by that date.

But Fox says that date is more of a suggestion or guideline than anything set in stone.

“Everyone I’ve spoken to has committed to holding an event whenever they can,” she explained. “If that’s not September, then we’re completely happy to support them in October or November or any other time.”

Even April is a viable option, and very symbolic. On April 12, 1980 Terry Fox started the Marathon of Hope in St. John’s, Newfoundland.

“A few schools already do that,” Fox said. “Every school is a little different in how they approach it, but they’re all amazing.”

Collectively, these events count for approximately 60 per cent of the Terry Fox Foundation’s annual fundraising income.

Last year they raised just under $1.4 million.

School runs are often spearheaded by a passionate teacher or administrator who works closely with the Terry Fox Foundation.

Schools register and are supplied with organizational guidelines and materials.

“We give them some amazing posters to help promote the events,” Fox noted. “We have lesson plans online that are made by teachers for teachers. We have some great books and DVDs designed with kids in mind, and we have lots of temporary tattoos and stickers.”

If requested, the Terry Fox Foundation will send out a ‘Terry’s Team Member’ to speak at assemblies,  usually a cancer survivor who drives home the importance of what they’re doing. Fox has visited many schools, and always finds the experience inspiring.

“I visit schools and ask them about Terry and it’s cool when a little kid puts up his or her hand and tells me exactly where Terry started his run, how far he ran and how much money he raised,” she says with a smile. “A couple years ago we started a Little Fox run a daycares and preschools, and it’s so great seeing the little ones getting excited about Terry and learning about him.”

Fox said 84 cents from every dollar raised goes directly to cancer research.

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Note: The 34th annual Terry Fox run takes place in Chilliwack on Sunday, Sept. 14 at the Landing Sports Complex on Spadina Ave. Registration starts at 8.30 a.m. with the run getting under way 10 a.m. There are 10km, 5km, 2km routes, which are suitable for bikes and wheelchairs/strollers, but not suitable for rollerblades. Dogs on leash are welcome.