In yet another example of Kivalliq spirit and generosity, students at Tusarvik Elementary School and Tuugaalik High School in Naujaat and Victor Sammurtok School (VSS) in Chesterfield Inlet, raised more than $3,000 for cancer research during their annual Terry Fox Run in the two communities.
The Naujaat students held their run on Sept. 7, while the Chester students ran on Sept. 14.
Both communities raised more than $1,500.
VSS teacher Glen Brocklebank said the Chester run was a little shorter this year due to bear sightings but the event still attracted about 110 runners, with students from kindergarten to Grade 12 taking part, as well as about 20 community members.
He said everyone enjoyed some light chatter with their hotdogs and juice at the end of the run.
“The RCMP, our bylaw officer and our wildlife officer were on patrol during the run and three teachers were stationed at various points along the route,” said Brocklebank.
“We raised $1,523.75, with Seporah Sammurtok our top fundraiser with $286.45.”
Brocklebank said VSS makes the effort every year to keep its young students aware of who Terry Fox was and what he accomplished.
He said kids in Chester have bought-in totally to stickers distributed by the Terry Fox Foundation. They can write the name of who they’re dedicating the run to on the sticker (I’m Running For __) and then stick it on for the run.
“My dad died of cancer, so my kids put ‘grandpa’ on theirs,” said Brocklebank.
“A few people in town died from cancer and some kids put their names on the stickers. And we have a lady undergoing cancer treatment, so her nieces and nephews all put they’re running for Gloria on theirs.
“In terms of keeping the spirit of the Terry Fox Run going, the stickers have been fantastic and actually reading who the kids are running for can be emotional.
“We also have the Marcel Maktar Memorial square dance in November and a couple of the kids ran for Marcel’s legacy because he also died of cancer.”
Running for a cause in Naujaat
The Naujaat run was organized by Tuugaalik High School physical education teacher Gary Minauda and Tusarvik Elementary vice-principal Jolene Itkilik.
The Naujaat students met at Tusarvik shortly after lunch on Sept. 7 for a shotgun start and then ran to Old Water Lake and back to the school.
Waiting for the students upon their arrival back at the school were a barbecue, juice refreshments, a bake sale and a 50/50 draw.
Tuugaalik vice-principal Julia MacPherson said Minauda and Itkilik worked together to plan a great event and it was nice to have all the kids together from both schools for the run.
She said Fox still remains quite popular among Naujaat students and Tuugaalik makes a concerted effort every year to reinforce that dedication to his legacy.
“We have resources on our communal drive of Terry Fox and his videos, the new heritage moment commercial, newspaper articles and other things of that nature,” said MacPherson.
The teachers spoke to the students about Fox’s legacy in the weeks leading up to the event. Many of them gathered in the gym on the morning of the run for a presentation, she said.
“It’s always interesting because we get a lot of questions from the students,” said MacPherson. “They still ask why couldn’t the doctors fix Terry Fox? Why did they have to give him that leg? He’s definitely a hero to a lot of the kids and they take Terry Fox Day very seriously.”
MacPherson said school secretary Abby Haqpi has a son in Grade 1 named Lucas who came home the day of the run to ask her what had happened to Fox.
“That had Abby very emotional. She asked me for some resources to bring home to Lucas that might help explain things to him,” she said. “That’s a small example of the impact Terry Fox can have. He’s so young when they show him in a video or some of the other resources about him. Our youths kind of relate to him on that level.”