Ready, set, go! As time raced into October, students and teachers at Tsinghua International School (THIS) have been running for the Third Annual Terry Fox Run and the first Terry Fox Foundation (TFF) Runners’ Challenge.
The Terry Fox Run has been a proud tradition of THIS, brought to the school by a Canadian member of the PE department, Ms. Maskus. Terry Fox was a cancer patient from Canada, diagnosed at the young age of 19. In 1980, after having one leg amputated, he decided to embark on a journey that would change the world forever – the cross-Canada Marathon of Hope, aiming to run across the country raising money for cancer research. Even though he was unable to make it all the way across Canada, he had already become a national hero. Terry Fox is now an international symbol for hope, resilience, and cancer awareness. Every year in October, the students and teachers at THIS run 5 kilometers in honor of Terry, and last year, we were lucky enough to have Terry Fox’s sister, Judith Fox, come to Tsinghua to celebrate Terry’s achievements.
The spirit of Terry was once again passed on as hundreds of students and teachers gathered on the school field on the morning of Saturday, October 18 buzzing with anticipation for the upcoming event. Once the PE department announced the official start of the Terry Fox Run 2014, boys and girls raced down the track in whirls of blue – the color of this year’s TFF fundraiser t-shirts.
However, this was not the first time these shirts were seen on the field. This year, THIS started a new tradition: the TFF Runners’ Challenge. In the week leading up to the Terry Fox Run, students and teachers were invited to go to the field during lunchtime and run or walk at least one mile. Popsicle sticks were given out for every lap, and at the end of the run, the homeroom with the most Popsicle sticks would be given a special treat. “I got 12 sticks today,” Justin Yap, a student in the high school division says proudly. “And I’m going to get 12 more tomorrow.”
The students’ eager participation resulted in a total running distance of 16,000 km, thrilling everyone, because this means that THIS teachers will dress up in wacky costumes and put on hilarious performances for the students.
The Terry Fox Run is a great way to have fun and promote cancer awareness, however, that isn’t what the run is only about. “We want people to appreciate exercise,” Audrey Tao, student organizer of the TFF Runners’ Challenge, says. “We want them to appreciate the fact that they are young and healthy, and that they are able to do sports. It’s such a wonderful thing to be healthy and fit. We want people to value that, and stay active in the future.”
The Terry Fox Run isn’t just about running, or cancer. It’s about valuing your health while you have it, and helping the ones who weren’t as lucky. No matter the illness – whether it’s cancer, ALS, or AIDS, the lesson to take from the run is to appreciate our body and to spread awareness, and hopefully stop the spread of horrible diseases that take away so many lives each year.
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Photo: Courtesy of Rhea Jiang