Today – I just feel so proud to be a Canadian.
Simon Fraser University, Joy Kogawa, Obasan, Naomi's Road, CBC, Tommy
Douglas, Medicare, Burrowing Owl, Ecology Conservation, Order of
Canada – were the themes of the Day.
Terry Fox Run – in Richmond BC
This morning I spoke at the Terry Fox Run Richmond BC run site.
It was at Garry Point Park. 352 people showed up amidst the rainy
drizzle, but the mood was happy and cheerful. I invited
teenage runners Amber and Irene, to help me set up some tents for the run site.
John Young is the event organizer, and he introduced me to some of the
other platform party members that included Richmond city councillor Sue
Halsy Brant, and singer Jack McIntosh. We are piped to the
staging area by bagpiper Noel.
As a cancer survivor and member of Terry's Team, I serve as a living
example that cancer research has made a difference. I shared that
when I was diagnosed with a cancer tumor in 1989, the doctors only gave
me a 60% chance to survive. Because my condition was so serious,
they told me that without treatment I might last two weeks.
Glyn Davies is the media/communications coordinator for the Richmond
run site. And I shared a story about meeting his father Lorne
Davies while Lorne
was still athletic director at Simon Fraser University. In 1993,
Terry's younger brother Darrell asked me to help start a Terry Fox Run
Fraser University – he told me “Remember what Terry said, 'It
just takes one person.' ” I went to see then Athletic Director Lorne
Davies who had known Terry Fox, at SFU, and tells a memorable story
about going to visit Terry at the hospital the night before his leg
amputation. I was wonderful to meet Mr. Lorne Davies, and to ask
him to help set up a Terry Fox Run for SFU.
I had to go back to
Darrell, and say “Sorry – but there won't be a Terry Fox Run this year
(due to logistics). But next year there will be… and there will
be a Terry Fox Day!” In 1994, there was indeed a Terry Fox
Run. And there was a trophy case that included Terry's favorite
SFU t-shirt from the 1000 Mile Club. And there was a presentation
of the 1994 Terry Fox Gold Medal recipient. The first Terry Fox
Day at SFU was attended by the Fox family. Then SFU basketball
coach Jay Triano, one of Terry's SFU friends, was also there.
I reminded the audience that this is an example of what one person can
do. Terry said “One person can make a difference.” On my Terry
Fox Gold Medal plaque, it quotes Terry saying, “Dreams are made if
people try.” I enjoyed sharing this story
It was a great day filled with a wonderful community feeling. I
gave “High Fives” as I passed Terry Fox Run participants, and met many
wonderful people and we took many pictures. I will write about
these experiences and stories in the next day or so, such as meeting
Eric and Matt – two young teens with the faces painted for Terry Fox
The open house event at Joy Kogawa House went very well. Many
many people came to see the house, and to meet Joy Kogawa, buy copies
of her books and have Joy sign them. The Land Conservancy of BC did a wonderful job setting up displays about the history of the house, and the time line events about the Save Kogawa House campaign.
It has been great for the Kogawa House committee to work with
Heather Skydt and Tamsin Baker of TLC. Members of our Kogawa House
committee also attended to help host and volunteer: Ann-Marie Metten,
David Kogawa, Richard Hopkins, Jenni Kato, Joan Young, Sabine Harper
As people walked up to the house, the first thing
they saw was that the white picket fence was decorated with pictures
and events highlighting the timeline to save the house from demolition,
starting from when the house was built in 1942, and when Joy's family
moved into the house.
A tent was set up in the front yard,
attended by TLC volunteers Jon and Janet, who gave people an
information sheet about the house, and recieved donations for the
restoration of the house. TLC also had another display with
newsclippins and pictures from events during the Save Kogawa House
Volunteers greeted people as they entered the house,
and other volunteers stood throughout the house to help explain stories
of different rooms, as well as historic family items such as toy cars
belonging to Joy's brother Timothy, a calligraphy set used by Joy's
father, and wooden crates used by the family as they moved from the
internment camp in Slocan, BC, to Coaldale, Alberta.
And everybody wanted to say hello to Joy Kogawa.
There was a man who used to play with Joy as a child, before she moved
away – Ralph told me that his older brother was in one of the pictures
on display that featured Joy and her brother Timothy as children in
There was a woman who brought pictures of the house, during
the 1940's when her grandparents lived there, after her family moved
away. Both Joy and this woman were very moved by this meeting.
There was a woman Daisy Kong, who had taken pictures of Joy
at the Order of BC ceremony earlier this year in June, because Daisy's
brother Dr. Wallace Chung also recieved the Order of BC along with Joy,
in Victoria. Daisy was amazed when I told her that Dr. Wallace's
wife Dr. Madeline Chung was the doctor who delivered me as a baby.
Garry Geddes, current writer in residence at Vancouver Public Library, arrived to give Joy a hug.
Attending the event was also Jen Kato, on our Kogawa House committee,
and Jeff Chiba Stearns, who just won the Best Animated Short for the
Canadian Awards for Electronic Arts and Animation.
People bought Joy's books and asked her to sign them. My friend
Gail Thomson helped manage the booksales. Gail is a librarian at
Fraserview Branch in Vancouver, where Joy came to speak during the One
Book One Vancouver program.
Joy with a special musical performance: Jessica Cheung (who played the
role of Naomi in the Naomi's Road Opera) sang “The Farewell Song” from
the Opera, I accompanied on accordion, Harry Aoki on double bass, and
Harry's friend Misako Watanabe on accoustic guitar. Joy was moved to
After the event, we had birthday cake to celebrate David Kogawa's
birthday. David is one of our wonderful Kogawa House committee
members, and Joy's ex-husband and friend.
A CBC documentary film crew followed me around today,
because I am one of the subjects for a Generations program – which will
feature 120 years of the Rev. Chan Yu Tan family and descendants in
This evening, CBC producer Halya
Kuchmij met with a few Rev. Chan descendants, and we watched a 10
minute segment that she produced/directed for A People's History of
Canada. And then we watched a 45 minute show Generations: 100 Years in
Saskatchewan – which featured the Hjertaas family.
the Generations project with the Rev. Chan family is going to be
awesome. There are great people and topics for the show. Rev. Chan,
WW2 veterans who fought for Canada, then for the vote for Chinese
Canadians and head tax redress; Rhonda Larrabee – a First Nations
Indian Chief – who is a great grand daughter of Rev. Chan Yu Tan;
Janice Wong – an artist painter who wrote a book about food and family;
me; and 14 year old Tracy Hinder – the 1st BC CanSpell champion who
went to Washington DC for the Scripps Spelling Bee, and the CanSpell
national bee in Ottawa. Wow!