Pickering Terry Fox Run helps young parents teach life lessons

Robert and Cassandra Scrimgeour warm up with their daughter Stella to prepare for their first Terry Fox Run as a family. (Alexa Battler photo)

Robert and Cassandra Scrimgeour warm up with their daughter Stella to prepare for their first Terry Fox Run as a family. (Alexa Battler photo)

by Alexa Battler, Centennial Journalism

For two young parents, this year’s Terry Fox Run was not only the site of an important fundraising event, it was where they gave their daughter some of her first life lessons.

To Pickering residents Robert and Cassandra Scrimgeour, Fox is not only an inspiration, he was an opportunity to teach their daughter Stella, 3, about compassion. And so, on Sunday morning at the Pickering edition of the 36th annual Terry Fox Run, the couple participated for their first time since grade school, but this time, as a family.

“(We want to teach Stella) the importance of helping people, those who need it. The importance of being there for others. Of giving back, especially. Of not being selfish. We think this is an important thing to try and teach at this age,” Robert said.

Stella grinned and giggled before she began a trek that could tax even some adults. The family walked just over three kilometres in 40 minutes, barely using the little red wagon they had kept in tow, in case the toddler got tired.

“Stella doesn’t know what cancer is, but she does know it is important to help others when you have the ability to do so,” Robert said.

That same empathy drove Terry Fox to attempt to run the length of Canada to raise money and awareness for cancer research in 1980, after cancer forced the amputation of one of his legs. His Marathon of Hope, and subsequent annual Terry Fox fundraising events after his death, have since engaged millions of people across almost 25 countries.

The Terry Fox Foundation has raised over $700 million for cancer research; the Pickering events have contributed over $848,000.

Kevin Cahill, who has organized the Pickering Terry Fox Run for ten years, continues to be inspired by Fox, and by the dedication of those who participate in the event.

“There’s been so many advancements in cancer research, in fact, osteogenic sarcoma, that Terry had, is a curable type of cancer now,” he said. “That’s how much research nowadays has helped.”

With this year’s Pickering run attended by what he estimated were around 175 participants, and a fundraising estimate of around $15,000 to $20,000, Cahill’s hope persists.

“We will one day beat cancer,” he said.
Robert and Cassandra Scrimgeour participated in the Pickering Terry Fox Run with their daughter Stella, 3, to teach her the same compassion that motivated Fox to begin his run 36 years ago.

The couple spoke to Centennial Journalism’s Alexa Battler about what the run meant to them, both as individuals and as parents.

Listen to the interview here.