Starbuck School led Manitoba in donations in the 40th annual Terry Fox School Run — with a student population of just 164 kids.
The elementary and middle school raised $6,296 for its October run last year. It topped about 550 Manitoban schools who participated in 2020; of those, 388 raised money.
Getting donations during the pandemic was hard, as kids couldn’t go door-to-door, according to a Starbuck School teacher. Even so, families raised the most money Starbuck has ever seen in its 27 years of fundraising for The Terry Fox Foundation.
Ryker Milne, a Grade 1 student, sent personalized videos to family and friends to rally support. His mother, who’s also his teacher, filmed him.
Milne’s messages worked — by the end of the fundraiser, he’d collected over $1,500. At six years old, he was the biggest salesperson for Starbuck School.
"I (fundraise) because I want to help scientists with cancer research," he said in an email.
Money to The Terry Fox Foundation goes to cancer research, continuing Fox’s goal of raising funds and awareness for the cause.
Milne ran with his cohort on Oct. 2. Normally, all classes trek the country roads together. But, to accommodate COVID-19 public health measures, students ran with their cohorts throughout the day instead.
Cathy Burton, Starbuck School’s Terry Fox School Run co-ordinator and a Grade 3/4 teacher, said she was surprised and excited to learn of Starbuck School’s accomplishment.
"There’s schools that have thousands of students … We just have 164 and their families," she said.
To date, Starbuck School and its community has raised $68,529 for The Terry Fox Foundation. Its previous record fundraising year was in 2005, when it garnered $5,348.
"The Terry Fox Run, and supporting The Terry Fox Foundation, is something our school 110 per cent gets behind every year," Burton said, adding that most people know someone who’s had cancer.
The fundraiser is a big part of September and October at the school, Burton said. There’s a hotdog lunch where all money raised goes to the foundation. Another day, "Hats on for Terry," allows for students to wear hats in class if they pay $1. The participation is strong, Burton said.
In non-pandemic years, the school gathers for a kickstart rally and watches a video about Fox. The icon died in 1981, but he’s still cool with students, Burton said.
"There’s something so inspiring about him, and I think that’s a big part of why Terry Fox has continued to be … this huge presence in our school," she said. "We want kids to take ownership of that and feel connected to something where you want to make a difference."
Fred Fox, Terry’s brother, was scheduled to meet the students via video call. However, Starbuck School switched to remote learning on May 18, so the experience is on hold. Burton hopes the kids will see Fred at a later date.
Manitoban schools raised a total $239,000 for The Terry Fox Foundation in 2020. Across Canada, students and their communities collected $5.98 million. Over 7,000 schools participated last year.