Students at Terry Fox's elementary school are getting a lesson from a cancer survivor on why they are walking or running this Wednesday.
Brenda Krueger is a cancer survivor and a volunteer/ambassador with the Terry Fox Foundation.
"I was diagnosed with cancer in my left leg in 2006. It was not the same as Terry. I had surgery to remove the tumour from my leg and the doctors said I had a 63 per cent chance of surviving 10 years," says Krueger, 15 years later.
She is also an avid runner and competes in marathons. Fox has been Krueger's inspiration for many years, for obvious reasons.
"Terry motivates me in a lot of my life but especially in my running because if I'm doing a marathon, in the last part my leg will swell and give me problems," she says.
Fox was 18 years old when he was diagnosed with bone cancer and shortly after that, doctors amputated his leg. With the time he had left, Fox has made an impact on thousands of people in Canada, and around the world. He passed away at the age of 22 in 1981 after attempting to run across Canada, on one leg, to raise money for cancer research. He made it to Thunder Bay, Ontario, where a statue still stands.
"I'm old enough to remember watching him run when he was doing the Marathon of Hope. I have a very visual picture of him running and persisting through all of the difficulties he had."
Krueger has been involved in marathons across Canada. She's also run the Boston Marathon and one in New York.
"I do the Manitoba Marathon every year. It was very special to go to Boston and New York. In 2017, when I was in New York, they have a very special opening ceremony there and I had the honour of being the flag bearer of Canada."
Part of Krueger's healing journey is to share her story with schools during the month of September. That's the time schools host the Terry Fox Run.
"Normally in September, I travel all of Saskatchewan and Manitoba, going into schools. Before COVID, I would go up to five schools a day and speak to literally thousands of students in the month of September."
While part of Krueger's presentation is to encourage them to fundraise, the main point is the life lessons they can take away from Fox's life. This year schools across Manitoba have students running in person again, however, Krueger's presentations have been paused for the most part.
"I really emphasize Terry's thoughts of 'Just do your best.' It doesn't matter about anybody else or how old you are, you take your goal and do your best. The theme this year is to try like Terry."
The neat connection for Manitobans is that Fox was born in Winnipeg and was raised here until he was eight-years-old. He attended Wayoata Elementary School and they still have a picture of him hung up.
"This school is special to me because of Terry, but we also have a granddaughter attending. Wayoata is the one school I'm actually speaking at this year. Instead of a big assembly, I'll be sitting in the office doing a video call to all the students in their classes."