Kelowna Terry Fox Run holds special place for co-organizers

Norm and Christina Sabourin had a close relationship with the Fox family thanks to more than 20 years of volunteering

Christina Sabourin with Terry Fox's shirt and other memorabilia from a 20 year stint with the Terry Fox Run.

For 20 years, husband and wife team Norm and Christina Sabourin organized the Terry Fox run in the communities of Midway, Greenwood and Rock Creek.

Per capita the runs were a major success, raising enough funds with enough dedication that the couple eventually met members of Terry Fox’s family, including his brother Fred, a one time provincial coordinator and public speaker, who was a support member during Terry’s run.

They became friends and on one occasion, Fred presented the Sabourin’s with a shirt that Terry had worn on his marathon of hope.

“I was absolutely dumbfounded, I had trouble even accepting it,” said Norm this week of the gift. “It felt like something I didn’t deserve in any way. For me, this is my prized possession. It’s a connection to Terry. (seeing the shirt) brings out an emotional response in people, to think this is the shirt Terry wore. It’s a piece of history. It makes you think of the ideals Terry held dear to him: That cancer can be beaten and if we work hard we can achieve our dreams.”

A few years ago, the Sabourin’s moved to Kelowna and took some years off from organizing the run and instead took part as runners. But this past year, when the Kelowna run was in need of an organizer, the Terry Fox Foundation knew who the right people were for the job.

So this year the Sabourin’s are run coordinators of a much larger event, the Keowna Terry Fox Run, being held this Sunday morning at the H2O Centre.

“For me this is a calling,” said Norm, an elementary teacher who starts each school year by teaching about Terry Fox, and his incredible marathon of hope. “Every year I’ve taught Terry Fox as a significant part of my curriculum in September. Not only the history of Terry but all he stood for, which are huge lifelong lessons not only for kids but for people. The idea of working hard, never giving up, being selfless and the idea of finding a cure for cancer.”

The Sabourin’s have taken the shirt—size medium and preserved inside a glass case—out into the Central Okanagan, from Peachland to Lake Country, as a way to promote the run and give people a chance to see a part of Terry Fox’s legacy and connect with the late hero.

“Terry bonded Canadians across the country because of what he did,” said Christina. “We fell in love with him. He didn’t want anyone to make him out as a hero. He was just a normal guy doing what he thought he had to do.”

Christina related a story about Terry Fox in the time before he embarked on the marathon of hope. He was just 18 and was in Vancouver hospital with all of the other children. It was at that time that something stirred in him and he was motivated to do something.

“That really changes his viewpoint,” she said. “He realized these children were going to have to go through what he was going through. He was an incredible inspiration to millions and he still is.”

This year’s Terry Fox Run is in the sports fields next to H2O. Registration is at 10 a.m. but you can register online at terryfox.org, donate to the run and save time Sunday morning. There will be live music and plenty of activity, thanks to close to 150 volunteers including students from Dr. Knox middle school’s leadership class.

The run begins at 11 a.m. with three distances: 1.5, 5 and 9 km.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Sad ending in case of missing Vernon senior

Body of Wayne Orser found floating in Okanagan Lake Tuesday, July 7

North Okanagan district shifts attention to wildfire season

FireSmart, Grab-and-Go Bags and emergency planning among tips for wildfire preparedness

Vernon police deem car fire ‘suspicious’

A vehicle was fully involved last night on 24th Avenue, cause still unknown

Lake Country home destroyed by fire

Call came in from Teresa Road just after 6 a.m. Tuesday, July 7

Boomer Talk: Vernon homeless outreach team and COVID-19

Columnist Carole Fawcett catches up with two generous women going above and beyond to support the community

84-year-old Okanagan resident finishes 12,000-piece puzzle

Willie Tribiger started the puzzle in 2013, completing it in six and a half years

Aces aplenty at Okanagan golf course

Vernon Golf and Country Club has 14 recorded holes-in-one since April 30

Fraser Valley woman complains of violent RCMP takedown during wellness check

Mounties respond that she was not co-operating during Mental Health Act apprehension

B.C. sees 12 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths

Three outbreaks exist in health-care settings

Lost dog swims Columbia River multiple times searching for home

The dog was missing from his Castlegar home for three days.

Booze on beach extended through summer in Penticton

Pilot project will stay in place until Oct. 15

COVID-19: B.C. promotes video-activated services card

Mobile app allows easier video identity verification

ICBC to resume road tests in July with priority for rebookings, health-care workers

Tests have been on hold for four months due to COVID-19

Princeton ATV rider slapped with numerous charges after complaint of near miss on the KVR

‘I would never defend actions like that’ - Ed Vermette, Princeton ATV Club president

Most Read