Students at elementary schools across the Valley have been hitting the streets for the annual Terry Fox run/walk activities throughout September. The annual events are always significant as students raise funds for cancer research through the Terry Fox Foundation.
At Howick Elementary, students were running with the Canadian icon in mind, but also in support of Alyanne, a grade 5 student who is currently battling the same type of cancer that spurred Terry Fox to start his Marathon of Hope in 1980.
All 219 students took part in the activity on September 22, as well as school staff, families, and members of the Howick community. The entire staff from École Saint-Jean in Howick also joined in the run as it was a ped day and Alyanne’s mother teaches at the French elementary school. Alyanne, who has been absent from school all year due to chemotherapy treatments, took part in the walk, surrounded by members of her family including two siblings who also attend Howick Elementary.
“She is a very strong and kind-hearted little girl, and they are a beautiful family,” says Howick principal Melanie Primeau of Alyanne, whom she describes as an inspiration for the entire community.
The school set a goal of raising $10,000, with two staff members promising to shave their heads if they topped this amount. As of September 30, over $11,025 had poured in through online donations, funds brought into the school, and sizable contributions from the community. Gary’s Restaurant donated 20 per cent of sales on September 22, which amounted to $955, while the Honey Hole café and antique store also contributed. Students from the Chateauguay Valley Career Education Centre in Ormstown decided to donate the $855 raised through their Terry Fox activities to the Howick fund upon learning about Alyanne’s courageous battle.
The owner the ABCycle bike store in Sainte-Martine, Michel Chicoine, whose children attend Howick Elementary, donated two bicycles to be auctioned off as a fundraiser for the Fondation des Gouverneurs de l’espoir. Over $1,000 was raised for the foundation which supports families with sick children. Local business MC Nutrition also contributed juice for the students during the day’s activities, which included a barbeque lunch and a dunk tank.
“My staff really came together for this,” says Primeau, who credits kindergarten teacher Jade MacArthur for spearheading the event. “It has been overwhelming,” she admits, but a rousing success.