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15 Aug, Monday
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Montreal Families

School caretaker teaches students about Terry Fox

When Eddy Nolan became the caretaker at Roslyn Elementary school nine years ago, the children gained more than a clean classroom. They became partners in a project dear to Nolan’s heart: the Terry Fox run. The caretaker is one of the few Canadians to have participated in every Terry Fox run since it started 30 years ago. His desire to participate is personal: two of his sisters died from cancer.

When Nolan arrived at the Roslyn school, he challenged the students to raise $200,000 in 10 years. After nine years, the school had raised $171,000. Then, less than a year ago, Nolan was diagnosed with throat cancer. Although he has had to take a leave of absence from his caretaking job, his mission to raise the $30,000 remaining dollars has not come to a stop. With the help of Roslyn and his other supporters he gets closer to the goal each day.

“I believe it’s possible to reach. A Loonie here, a Toonie there. It all adds up,” Nolan says.

The children at his school have been a huge inspiration and aid in his recovery, sending him cards and even setting their own goals, Nolan adds.

When entering Roslyn, a visitor soon sees a large wall dedicated to the beloved caretaker, and of course Terry Fox. Included in the display are photos and articles about Eddy, a large image of Terry and some inspirational quotes from the legend.

There is also a large map of Canada, showing how students are trying to re-create Terry Fox’s dream of a cross-Canada run, but doing laps around the gym and plotting their distance on the map. “Every gym class runs three laps, which is the equivalent of one kilometre. They then map out the distance they have run across Canada,” explains Debbi Jardine, activities coordinator at Roslyn.

So far, students have run 538 km or the equivalent of Terry Fox reaching Channel-Port-Aux Basques, Newfoundland during his mission 30 years ago. As well, the school continues its Terry Fox fundraising activities, holding for example, a skating party. To date, they have raised $5,000, which was presented to Eddy at the Terry Fox assembly in April.

Nolan is deeply touched by the generosity and love the students have shown him and his project. “I’d like to thank each and every one of my supporters. For a public elementary school to show this much dedication and effort, to raise money for a cause, that’s incredible. There’s nothing more important than giving back,” Nolan says.

To donate money to this goal, please go to http://my.e2rm.com/TeamPage.aspx?teamID=199714&langPref

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