12 000 kms in 30 days.

Seeing pandas and penguins at the Calgary Zoo (the penguins were much more interesting), stopping at the geographical center of North America (unplanned) and the longitudinal center of Canada (planned), kayaking and tubing down lazy rivers in North Michigan, getting much closer to the foot of Niagara Falls than was possible before, visiting Ripley’s aquarium and the CN Tower, and spending some relaxing time with family – this was the bulk of my summer holidays.

Tears for a Hero

Not included in the list above is stopping at the Terry Fox Memorial just outside of Thunder Bay, near the spot where Terry Fox had to end his Marathon of Hope in 1980. We had stopped at this memorial back in 1992 when our children were young and wanted to do so again with our grandchildren and their mother on this trip. I know I have a reputation of being a crier but even I was surprised at the emotion I felt again this year; and felt honoured to share that with my grandchildren.

At some point in the intermediate grades, most students are asked to research and write about someone who they see as a hero or a famous Canadian. I think Terry Fox is chosen by someone each time, and I believe the title of hero fits. The irony is truest heroes don’t see themselves as heroes at all. Terry was selfless. It boggles my mind, especially since I am not a runner, that he ran a full marathon day after day after day.

But for him, it wasn’t about that.

Terry’s goal was to find a cure for cancer, but not for himself; for the many who would get the disease long after he was gone. The millions of dollars raised for cancer research in Terry’s name, and the advances that have been made in treating cancer, are incredible.

Sharing the passion

ACES librarian Linda Groot is passionate about the Terry Fox run. She hasn’t missed a year for 18 years. Like her, I think most of us have someone, likely more, close to us touched by cancer. Linda would like to see our school get involved but it is hard to make that happen since it is so close to the beginning of the school year. This year, the Terry Fox run is on September 16, so by the time you are reading this it will only be a few days away. Maybe it is something you would like to get involved with. It won’t be too late to sponsor Linda. Also, the middle school will be participating in the Terry Fox Run Day on Thursday, September 27 at 9 am. You could contact Jonathan Zuidhof and see how you can participate.

If there is a cross Canada trip in your future, I would say that a stop at the Terry Fox memorial should be on your “must do” list. It is good for us and our children to experience and pay homage to those who, in their own acts of selflessness, emulate the ultimate act of selflessness on which the salvation of the world depends.