Lena's School, St. Bernard, held its annual Terry Fox Run today. I have volunteered most years to herd the kids around the course and I really enjoy it. For those who don't know, Terry Fox was a young Canadian diagnosed with osteosarcoma and who lost his leg to the disease. To raise money and awareness, he undertook to run all the way across Canada, starting in Newfoundland in April 1980. Unfortunately, he had to abandon his quest about halfway through in Thunder Bay, Ontario when the disease spread to his lungs. He had covered over 5,000 kms (over 3,000 miles). He passed away in June 1981.
The Terry Fox Run, held in his memory every year, raises money for cancer research. Lena's school has been participating for at least the eight years she's been going there. I get a kick out of watching the kids both seeking donations in support of the cause and making their ways around the course. I especially love watching the younger grades - they have an air of seriousness and earnestness about them. They clearly feel that what they are doing is very important and they are doing their best to fulfil their obligation. I can't believe I've volunteered for the event so often and haven't yet grabbed armloads of them and smooched them silly.
The event, for me, Kate and Lena has become even more poignant since Kate's diagnosis of Stage IV breast cancer. She was diagnosed in October of 2011. St. Bernard held its next Terry Fox Run the following September. Kate was feeling much better by then and volunteered, while I decided to stay home. Participants wear stickers on the shirts that say "I am running for..." and the kids write in the name of someone who has been touched by cancer. When Kate got home, she told me that so many of Lena's friends and classmates had filled in "Kate Moynihan" or "Helena's Mom". I'm getting all teary just writing this. Even two years later many of these wonderful people still show this support for our family. I just can't say in words how much this gesture means to us. I really, really can't. What a great bunch of kids.
Lena moves on to high school next year and I hope they hold and annual run to support this great cause and if they need volunteers, I'll be there.