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Students keeping Terry Fox dream alive on National School Run Day

Queen Elizabeth Public School turned heads, garnered waves and beeps of support Wednesday afternoon as about 250 students walked through downtown Picton from their Barker Street school in support of the National School Run Day for Terry Fox.
Dressed in a tiger suit as the school mascot, the school’s new principal Bill Launderville lead an information assembly at the school before heading out with the students’ eight house teams.
Originally from Thunder Bay, Launderville recalls that September when he waited at the roadside to see Terry Fox, who was by then more than 3,000 miles into his Marathon of Hope.
“He never came,” Launderville says, with sadness still evident in his voice. “I was a child but we’ll never forget what he did.”
Launderville is happy to share Terry’s story with students and encourage them to show community support.
“Community involvement is so important,” he said. “We are always looking for ways to get the students involved.”
It was April of 1980 when Terry Fox embarked on his dream to run 8,530 kilometres across Canada to fight the disease that had claimed his leg.
He started in Newfoundland running in high winds, snow and freezing rain. His good leg was strong. His artificial leg made of fibreglass and steel. He ran about 26 miles every day – through the Atlantic provinces, Quebec and Ontario – and Canadians fell in love with the young boy with the big dream.
He ran 3,339 miles in 143 days but on Sept. 1, seven miles outside of Thunder Bay, the Marathon of Hope was over as Terry was experiencing pain in his chest. Doctors confirmed the cancer was back, this time in his lungs. Terry had run his last mile. He had raised about $1.7 million.
“That’s the thing about cancer,” said Terry Fox in Thunder Bay ( “I’m not the only one, it happens all the time to people. I’m not special. This just intensifies what I did. It gives it more meaning. It’ll inspire more people. I just wish people would realize that anything’s possible if you try. When I started this Run, I said that if we all gave one dollar, we’d have $24 million for cancer research, and I don’t care, man, there’s no reason that isn’t possible. No reason.”
And even though Terry was flown home to British Columbia the next day, his Marathon of Hope was not over. Canadians everywhere were taking up his cause and raising money for cancer research.
Before he died on June 28, 1981, Terry knew his dream had been realized – $24.17 million had been raised in his name – a dollar from every Canadian.
Terry Fox’s dream has been kept alive for 31 years as every September runs are held from coast-to-coast in Canada and in more than 50 countries around the world. To date, more than $550 million has been raised world-wide in Terry’s name.

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