Fox legacy strong in Penticton

Schools set for annual Terry Fox run this week in bid to keep cancer crusader's dream alive

Belle Grant walks with Audrie

Belle Grant walks with Audrie

Doug Alward met Terry Fox in elementary school in Port Coquitlam and they quickly became life-long friends.

In the decades since then, millions of young people have come to know Terry Fox during their school years.

Thursday, students and educators in Penticton will join others across the country in the National School Run Day to help make Terry’s dream of a world without cancer come true.

One vivid memory Alward has of those early days was his friend’s tenacity, especially in making the school basketball team.

“In Grade 8, every guy in the school went out for the team,” said Alward. “I always thought Terry was a terrible player, maybe a fifth or sixth string guard.”

Fortunately the coach at the time had a policy on not cutting any player if he showed up to practice and games.

Alward remembers Fox sitting at the end of the bench for two years without giving up.

Then one day he got his chance and never looked back, eventually becoming a starter and team captain.

Fox later told his friend he intended to make the Simon Fraser University basketball team as an unheralded walk-on, and did just that.

However, three months into the season Fox began having pain in his right knee. He was diagnosed with cancer and the leg was amputated.

“It was devastating,” said Alward.

“But he was not a quitter and even when he was having the cancer treatments, no matter how bad he felt, he would hide it from everybody.

“If you went to visit him he would get up, get dressed, sit up and put on a brave face.”

So it was no surprise to Alward when Fox announced to him he intended to run across the country on his artificial limb (far outdated by today’s standards) and raise a dollar from each Canadian to fight cancer

“I didn’t say to Terry it was impossible, I didn’t say anything at all,” said Alward. “I knew better.”

To this day, Alward still marvels at what has transpired, not just in Canada, but around the world as a result of the Marathon of Hope.

He described the 143 days on the road with Fox, driving the motorhome and working as chief cook and bottle washer, as the hardest thing in his life.

“I actually got the feeling he was going to run to his death and I felt my job was to prevent him from doing so,” said Alward.

He admitted being surprised when he read in Fox’s journal, which he only received a copy of about a month ago, about the agony Fox endured.

“He would never let on and I guess I was just so close to the whole thing I was just sort of numb,” said Alward.

“But thinking back, I guess I could see it in the faces of the people who stopped on the highway to watch, when they came to the van to donate money they were crying.”

Now, having read the journal and looking back when the marathon ended with the return of the cancer, he believed Fox knew in his heart he would not complete the journey.

“After the run ended they had a telethon that raised a dollar for every Canadian. Terry and I looked at it like God had a bigger plan for him,” said Alward. “Maybe it required Terry passing away to raise all that money to save and improve those thousands of lives.”

About that Fox wrote in his journal: “Even if I don’t finish, we need others to continue. It’s got to keep going without me.”

 

Just Posted

This photo of the small wildfire burning above Naramata was taken at 8 p.m. on Thursday, June 17, 2021 (Monique Tamminga Western News)
UPDATE: Fire above Naramata is an illegal open burn

Smoke is still billowing from the blaze Friday morning

Rob and Anthony are the city’s new parking ambassadors who are sharing information with businesses and the public about the new pay parking. (Monique Tamminga - Western News)
Penticton hires team to inform people on city’s new pay parking system

The pair will spend at least a month helping businesses and residents navigate new pay parking system

The Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce will host the Valley Wide Business Expo May 4 at Predator Ridge Resort. (photo submitted)
Golf raffle helps Okanagan families score homes

Habitat for Humanity Okanagan swinging into action this summer with a new raffle

Keremeos’ heritage Grist Mill and Gardens. (Brennan Phillips - Keremeos Review)
Keremeos Grist Mill looking forward to restrictions easing with exclusive concert planned

Juno Award-winning folk artist Valdy is set to take the stage

Letter writer says COVID has created lots of newbie cyclists who don't know rules of cycling. (File photo)
LETTER: Newbie cyclists in Penticton need lessons on rules of the road

Penticton cycling group just received city funding, should give back by offering how-to lessons

Bear wanders Kelowna on June 15. (Michelle Wallace/Facebook)
Bear climbs fence, uses crosswalk in Kelowna

The bear was spotted on Baron Road Wednesday evening

An old growth cedar stands in a cut-block within the Caycuse Valley. More than 100 prominent Canadians, have signed an open letter calling for the immediate protection of all remaining old-growth forests in B.C. (Submitted)
Brian Mulroney and Greta Thunberg among 100 celebrities pushing to save B.C. old growth

List includes Indigenous leaders, scientists, authors, Oscar winners

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on Friday, February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
U.S. border restrictions to remain in place until at least July 21

Safety minister says Canada, U.S. extending restrictions on non-essential international travel

Students in the Grade 10 entrepreneurship program at Summerland Unisus School have completed a cookbook with international recipes. (Contributed)
Summerland students create virtual international cookbook

Entrepreneurship program at Summerland Unisus School uses virtual cookbook as fundraiser

Hundreds of people, young and old, joined the three-day Walking Our Spirits Home procession, honouring residential school survivors, those who never made it home and all those affected by the institutions. Here people walk the third portion on June 13. (Martha Wickett - Salmon Arm Observer)
Walking Our Spirits Home from Kamloops provides path to healing

First Nations in and beyond Secwépemc territory join in to honour residential school survivors

More flames
Lake Country home destroyed in large blaze, 11 dogs rescued

Fire crews are responding to 10839 Hallam Drive

(Facebook/Kelowna Cabs)
Kelowna Cabs reaches tentative agreement with dispatchers union

The tentative agreement could help end the dispute between the taxi company and the dispatchers

FILE – A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey, B.C. on March 12, 2021. (Lauren Collins/Surrey Now Leader)
Teachers’ union wants more COVID transmission data as B.C. prepares for back-to-school

BCTF says that details will be important as province works on plan for September

A boat sharing service is extending to Summerland. The company, Penticton Boat Club and Rentals, is also taking over the boat rentals at Summerland Waterfront Resort. (Photo by Chris Stenberg)
Boat sharing service extended from Penticton to Summerland

Company will also operate boat rentals at Summerland Waterfront Resort

Most Read