Haahuupayak School kids contribute to cancer research

By Denise Titian, September 30, 2011
Tseshaht — 

They ran in waves, starting with the youngest followed by the next grade up until all the students of Haahuupayak School were running to raise awareness and funds for cancer research. All but the Kindergarten kids ran a long, hot loop through the Tseshaht community. The Kindergarten class took part in the Terry Fox Run by racing on their own little track around the parking lot.

School principal Kailee Carr said her school has been hosting a Terry Fox Run for at least the past 12 years. This year the run took place on a warm, sunny Sept. 28 afternoon.

Having the kids take part in the event allows educators the opportunity to introduce activities and open dialogue with the students about cancer, cancer research and about who Terry Fox was.

“They watch videos and they have an understanding of what cancer is, who he (Terry Fox) was and why he ran,” said Carr.

Not only do they raise funds for cancer research, Carr said the students take part in other fundraising activities throughout the year for other charitable organizations. She said it teaches them about civic duty and about taking care of others.

The school raised funds by bringing in donations to go toward the Terry Fox Foundation. According to the foundation, whose goal it is to raise money for cancer research in order to achieve a cancer-free world, school runs like the one held at Haahuupayak School raise a majority of foundation funds.

Community runs are often the most publicized Terry Fox events, but school runs account for almost 60 per cent of donations across the country.

This year the foundation will introduce a new event—the Terry Fox Challenge—in order to raise even more funds and to commemorate each of the miles that Terry Fox ran. According to the foundation Terry Fox ran a marathon-a-day for 143 days in the spring and summer of 1980 before a recurring cancer forced him to stop. Even with an artificial leg, he ran a total of 3,339 miles.

“We are asking teachers to challenge themselves and their students the way that Terry challenged himself during the 143 days he was on the road,” said Jessica Alder, the foundation’s School Coordinator of BC and the Yukon.

Schools are encouraged to come up with creative ways to raise funds, whether it is through runs, head shaving, kissing a pig–anything they can think of.

This year Haahuupayak School raised $175.23 for the Terry Fox Foundation.

Principal Cole would like to thank RCMP Constables Adam Ruttan, Mike Bigg and Corporal Andrew Burton of the Aboriginal Policing Division for keeping the children safe by volunteering with lights and sirens as traffic controllers during the run.