2nd Annual National School Run Day for Terry Fox – I speak at Tomsett School
Imagine if schools across Canada, all held their Terry Fox Run at the exact same time across Canada.
10am in BC, 11am in Alberta, 12noon in Winnipeg, 1pm in Ottawa, 2pm in Halifax, 2:30pm in NewFoundland.
This is what the National School Run Day is all about. Here are some links to articles about the National School Run:
The Brampton Guardian: Hundreds take part in local Terry Fox runs …
The Brandon Sun: Online Edition
North Bay News and Weather on BayToday.ca
This year I was invited to speak at Tomsett Elementary School in
Richmond. I always speak at Elementary Schools for Terry Fox Run,
as a Terry's Team member – cancer survivors who serve as living
examples that cancer research has helped to make a difference.
Tomsett is quite a small elementary school of only about 250 students. But they are very enthusiastic!
The Terry Fox video “I Am Terry Fox” played as classes entered the
gymnasium. There was also a raffle draw in which students' names
were called out, and they recieved Terry Fox Run shirts, or hats.
They all proudly put them on.
I spoke for about 15 minutes. First I shared with the students
about the cancer that I had, and how I became a cancer survivor.
Next I talked about how I became involved with the Terry Fox Run when
Terry's brother Darrell invited me. Then I talked about Terry Fox
Runs around the world.
The children from kindergarten to grade 7 were very good. As I
talked I asked them questions about Terry Fox and the Terry Fox
Run. Many students put up their hand, they certainly weren't
bored. It's always very cute that some kids put up their hands
just to participate. I ask them in which province did Terry Fox
start his run? – and somebody answers “Canada?”
Following my talk, we all went outside. We ran for 15 minutes
around the school fields, in an L-shaped pattern. It is a
wonderful feeling to be surrounded by such joyous energy, all running
with enthusiasm, knowing that this run is special…. this run really
means something. Children came up to me to ask questions. I
encouraged them as they ran. For much of the run, I talked with
the school run organizer Joan Young, a teacher at Tomsett. I
first got to know Joan, when her grade four students wanted to help
save Joy Kogawa House. The students were so enthusiastic, they
went to Vancouver City Hall, to ask Mayor Sam Sullivan to save the
house. It was then that I told Joan that I speak at Terry Fox
Runs as a Terry's Team member. I wrote about the students visit to Kogawa House where they met author Joy Kogawa.
To finish the run, I stood beside the finish line and gave “high fives”
to the students. I thanked them for supporting Terry's dream, and
gave them compliments and encouragement for doing so well.
Following the run, I visited Mrs. Young's grade four classroom. I
stayed to answer questions from the children. They were all very
enthusiastic. Some of them wanted to know what kind of cancer I
had; How did Terry discover he had cancer; or to share that their
grandmother had died from cancer. They enthusiastically answered
my questions about Terry's Run, such as “How many miles / kilometres
did Terry Run?” It was a great day. Certainly makes you
glad for the future of Canada, with so many children enthusiastic for
the values and ideas of Terry Fox. We ended my visit by shouting
our loudest “I am Terry Fox!”
Here's a thank you letter from Joan Young, teacher at Tomsett Elementary School in Richmond BC.
Once again, thank you so much for taking the time to come and talk to
the students at my school. I think that this was one of the most
successful Terry Fox runs that our school has ever had, largely due to your
We really appreciated the thoughts that you presented to the kids at the
assembly. I think that it is incredibly generous of you to share your story
of being a cancer survivor with others. There is no greater testimony than
to see someone such as yourself who has been through the hardships to stand
in front of others, strong and healthy - living proof that our efforts are
making a difference. I think that you helped the children to understand
about cancer and about the importance of keeping Terry's dream alive.
This made the whole idea of the run so much more meaningful for everyone.
The gorgeous weather certainly helped our run too. Why couldn't it have
been like that on Sept. 17?
It was great of you to stay and talk to the kids in my class afterwards as
well. They felt pretty special to receive an extra visit and have you all
to themselves. It's interesting how 8 and 9 year olds react to visitors.
They are a pretty enthusiastic bunch and they love to show off. I think if
we let them, they could have kept on coming up with questions for hours.
Thank you for your generosity and thoughtfulness.
Looking forward to seeing you again soon.
Joan and John
You can donate to my on-line pledge sheet. Terry's team
members are cancer survivors who also offer to run for people who cannot run themselves. Just click