Today Friday morning, I spoke at Nootka Elementary school in my role as
Terry's Team member, cancer survivors who are living examples that
cancer research has helped to make a difference.
Nootka is on Vancouver's east side – not far from where I grew up on
Nanaimo and 4th Avenue. There are lots of children of Chinese
heritage, and the organizer Glen Vockroft was glad to have me as a
speaker. While most schools across BC started their runs early in
the morning to coincide with schools across Canada from Victoria
to St. John's, Nootka held fast to their tradition of an afternoon run,
to help keep the students attentive and finish the afternoon on a high.
The assembly was voluntary on the part of the teachers, and started off
by showing the video “The Life & Times of Terry Fox.”
Following the 40 minute video I spoke for about 15 minutes, telling the
audience about the kind of cancer I had, and what I had done since
becoming a cancer survivor. I interwove stories about Terry Fox,
that I learned about him, as I met his family, started Terry Fox Day at
Simon Fraser University, attended a Terry Fox Run in Beijing China, and
met other Terry's Team members at press conferences and football games.
I also kept the talk interactive by asking the children questions such
as “Name a country outside of Canada that holds a Terry Fox Run”
(Cuba), “Tell me what you will find at SFU about Terry Fox” (a
statue). The kids were very knowledgable. When I asked them
if they knew someone who was a cancer survivor, some of them pointed
out their teacher.
At the end of my talk, I let them ask me questions. Some of which
were comments about somebody they knew that had cancer, but some were
very interesting such as: “Where did you get your Terry Fox
t-shirt?”, “How do people get cancer?” I told them that my
t-shirt came in the mail, and I get one free for being a Terry's Team
member, and said that if their t-shirt wanted to be their Terry's Team
member for next year, we could get a t-shirt for her in the mail.
I also told them that cancer that when I was at the BC Cancer Agency, I
watched a video that said that cancer occurs 3 ways: environmental,
hereditary, or by stress.
I was very pleased with the assembly, as the children were pretty
nicely behaved, attentive and asked good questions. Afterwards, I
had a nice chat with teachers Glen Vockcroft and Laura, who is a 12
year cancer survivor. I gave them each a Terry Fox $1 coin.
Then I met the principal of the school who told me that when she lived
on Ioco Road she would walk her dog, and see Terry running – this was
before he started his Marathon of Hope. One day, Terry stopped to
talk with her. She said she thought he must be training for
something because she saw him out running so much. Terry told her
about his planned run across Canada, and that she was one of the first
people he ever told. She smiled when I told her that Terry
probably hadn't even told him mother yet, because he kept it a secret
from her until everything was planned and in place.
It is hearing stories like this, and seeing the interest and enthusiasm
in the children's faces, that I am thankful for in being a Terry's Team