Alex Parent knows the importance of research. That’s why he’s reading the biography, “Terry Fox--His Story.”
And come the end of the month, the 11-year-old Fort Frances resident will share what he’s learned with his grade six classmates at St. Francis School when he gives a book report on his hero.
Parent also knows the importance of Fox’s legacy--the annual “Terry Fox Run” and its goal of finding a cure for cancer.
At age six, Parent lost a part of his leg to bone cancer--the very same type that afflicted Fox and prompted his “Marathon of Hope” in 1980.
Unfortunately, his cross-Canada run was cut short near Thunder Bay when cancer spread to his lungs. Fox died the following June.
“What Terry Fox did for everybody around the world who had cancer inspired me,” said Parent, who cut the ribbon to kick off this year’s Terry Fox Run along with Mayor Glenn Witherspoon and Ontario NDP leader Howard Hampton.
The youngster and his family also walked in the event, raising $470 in pledges.
“He was thrilled [to cut the ribbon]. The Terry Fox Run is a very big deal for him,” his mom, Liz, said Monday, adding Alex has been cancer-free for five years.
“He’s in very good health now,” echoed his dad, Gerry. “We don’t let his leg stop him from participating in anything he wants to participate in.”
To date, almost $250 million has been raised for cancer research in Terry Fox’s memory. And there’s no question the progress made in fighting the disease--because of research dollars--hits home with the Parents.
“There’s been some big improvements in cancer research,” noted Gerry Parent. “The medication Alex took five years ago to treat his cancer was totally different than what Terry Fox had taken and that [progress] has given my son a greater chance of survival.”
“That’s the truth--there’s been some significant changes along the way,” agreed Liz Parent. “Research money had a lot to do with the reason [Alex] is alive today.
“When Alex was first diagnosed, we were asked if we wanted to participate in research and we said ‘Yes’ because not a whole lot was known about that type of cancer,” she noted.
“Maybe in years to come that will be one of the links that helps find a cure,” she added.