What started out as a Language Arts letter-writing project for the Grade 6C students at Robert W. Zahara (R.W.Z.) Public School in Sexsmith has resulted in a personal reply from Fred Fox, brother of Canadian icon Terry Fox, along with an offer to visit the school. Mr. Fox will meet with students in the 6C class at 8:45 a.m. on Friday, May 12, followed by a 45-minute school-wide presentation in the gym. Students from Teepee Creek School will also attend the event.
In writing their letters to Mr. Fox, teacher Corry Stark encouraged her students to share their personal experiences with cancer.
"It opened up a conversation around the disease, and several of my students shared stories of their friends and relatives who have been affected by cancer," adds Ms. Stark. "The class included stories and questions, and I was very pleasantly surprised that the responses we received were from Fred Fox himself, along with gifts of pins and bookmarks for the class. The personal touch was overwhelming and a wonderful surprise for the class."
The class was ecstatic when their teacher told them Mr. Fox would be visiting their school.
Mr. Fox's reply also included answers to the student's questions, such as how many pairs of running shoes Terry went through during his Marathon of Hope – nine left shoes, but only one right shoe on his artificial leg. He went on to explain how, due to Terry's trademark extra step and skip running method, his left shoe took more wear than the right one. He also wanted students to know that the funds raised for cancer research are making a difference. He pointed out that his brother's 143-day run in 1980 resulted in more than $24 million for the cause, and since that time, more than $725 million has been raised around the world.
In his letter, Mr. Fox told the students that survival rates have improved dramatically since his brother's passing.
"If Terry was diagnosed with the same cancer today, there is a good chance that he would not have had to lose his right leg at the knee, and he would likely have survived. Terry would be so happy to know that he has inspired you to be strong, believe in yourself and work hard to overcome any challenges you face."
"R.W.Z. has always been a strong supporter of the Terry Fox Run and we are thrilled to be added to Mr. Fox's 2017 tour schedule," adds Ms. Stark.
Photo Caption: Robert W. Zahara Public School teacher Corry Stark (back, right) and educational assistant Shelly Haire (back, left), are pictured with the Grade 6C class. The class's Language Arts letter-writing assignment resulted in personal replies from Fred Fox, brother of Canadian icon Terry Fox, along with an offer to visit the school on Friday, May 12, 2017.
Mr. Fox's reply to the students is included below.