By Cheryl Dobbie Brown
Yesterday was supposed to be the Terry Fox Run, it is a great fundraising and community activity in memory of an amazing role model for ourselves and our children.
The 21-year-old Fox was battling bone cancer when he began his Marathon of Hope in 1980.He ran the equivalent of a marathon a day for 143 days, making his way across the Atlantic provinces as well as Ontario and Quebec before he was forced to stop in Thunder Bay, Ont.Fox died months later at the age of 22 after raising more than $22 million for cancer research.
Today his run is a worldwide movement. Thousands of Terry Fox runs are held in dozens of countries across the globe. And hundreds of million dollars have been raised for cancer research.
It is a tradition in our schools for our kids to not only participate during the school week but to bring at least a toonie to go towards the cancer fighting fundraising efforts. I did not realize it was coming up. With my busy lifestyle I have for years relied on school newsletters and emails to inform me of the dates. With the ongoing teachers strike I was virtually in the dark when it came to the run this year. When I saw my friends status on Facebook this morning I immediately thought about all of the children that have missed out on hearing the Terry Fox lesson in school.
It is a traditional lesson that I am sure isn’t found in the yearly curriculum for all if any grades but one that teachers teach simply because Terry Fox is a Canadian Hero. The teachers lessons initiate talk at home every September about the courageous young man we run for or donate to cancer research for in honour of his courageous efforts to bring awareness to the disease that eventually took his life and cut his Canadian cross country run short. With the teachers strike the conversations will be less among families.There won’t be the eager kindergartners running home to tell mom and dad about the fiery redhead whose name they can’t remember and his cross Canada run. I always love hearing little ones telling their version of the story and parents filling in the blanks. Every year as children grow the story that comes home is more detailed and the conversation at the dinner table becomes more serious.
It is a tradition during the first two weeks of school. Not only is the strike taking away crucial learning weeks but it is also removing a Canadian Tradition for families. It is not only teachers that are losing money by not being in school. I am curious as to how the donations to the Terry Fox Foundation will drop this year with the school strike. With 500,000 students at home due to the teachers strike and students donating a minimum of the traditional Canadian toonie the Terry Fox Foundation could lose out on ( on the conservative side) a million dollars. That is a huge loss but an even larger loss is the loss of our kids participating in a community event that spurs conversation at home about a Canadian Hero. Please initiate the conversation at home and if you are able make a donation. I encourage both sides of the teachers strike to negotiate in good faith to get our teachers back into the classroom so our children do not miss out on anymore learning or important lessons that teachers teach outside of the regular curriculum.