John Lake School spent Tuesday honouring a lost staff member as part of their Terry Fox Day events.
Longtime school caretaker Terry Elliott died of an aggressive cancer over the summer.
“I (was) on holidays and then a friend of mine at school texted me and told me he was in a coma. It was like ‘What? We were just at school like three weeks ago,’ it hit him so hard and so fast. It was just a shock to all of us at the school,” said John Lake teacher Jeff Elliott (no relation to Terry).
Jeff Elliott said the loss of Terry inspired the school to come up with a unique way to mark this year’s Terry Fox Day. Rather than have all the students take part in a short run together, they opted to split them up for an all-day relay. Students spent the day running laps around the school grounds carrying a flag honouring Terry Fox, Terry Elliott and loved ones lost to cancer.
A circuit around the school is about one kilometre. The kids set a goal to carry the flag for at least 42 laps. That would see them cover about the same distance that Terry Fox did on an average day during his Marathon of Hope in 1980.
Seventh-grader Sam Bell said he was pretty tired out after his lap around the school.
“You’ve just got to keep on going, you don’t stop. As soon as you get through that hardest part, it’s easy to keep on going.”
Ashton Littlecrow, another seventh-grader, said he had a lot to think about as he was carrying the flag.
“Honouring Terry Fox, honouring my heart, honouring my family — all that kind of stuff,” he said.
Jeff Elliott said he was proud of his students for taking up the challenge.
“We wanted them to know that they could run the distance and that they can do something maybe beyond what they normally do,” he said.