Marathon of hope

07 Feb 2018
POSTED BY Y Magazine

Twenty-three of the 1000-strong crowd of students, teachers and parents who turned up at TAISM for the Terry Fox Run say it with hair. Alvin Thomas joins the run of courage

“Ordinary people are heroes because of what they do.” That was the very belief that drove the motivated organisers and participants of the annual Terry Fox Run as they entered the 11th year of its existence in Oman.

And it was the folk – which included students, teachers and even parents – who were partaking in the marathon that were determined to make a change on the day. The event was held in honour of Terry Fox who had lost his leg to cancer and – despite all odds – raised money for cancer research during an arduous cross-Canada run in 1980.

The strong-minded individuals, some of whom had shaved and donated their hair to be converted to wigs for the cancer patients in need, ran the course drawn on the premises of The American International School Muscat (TAISM).

It wasn’t a full marathon but the 4km-long course was challenging for the several students across all age groups.

“Everybody at TAISM comes from around the world, and we all love Oman. So, it’s a way for us to give back to this country that we call home. And we get to help the children in Oman with leukemia,” said Laura MacDonald, the organiser of the event and a health teacher at TAISM.

There were close to 1,000 participants, and a total sum of RO5,500 was raised. The donations will go to leukemia research in Oman.

“Giving back and helping is the right way to do. In addition, it teaches the students how to be better people and what it is to be a good person,” Laura added.

Twenty-three participants donated their hair to cancer patients in need of a wig.

Dominique was one of the parents who had donated her hair. She explained: “I prepared myself one year before. Some members of my family and friends suffered from cancer a lot and I want to be with them. I can do it and I will continue to do it with all my heart.”

“I suffered from breast cancer four years ago. I was undergoing treatment for two years,” Igle Barrios, who had just bravely fought breast cancer, said.

“I came out of it, and it was my family and friends who supported me throughout the whole process,” she added, before breaking
into tears.

But it isn’t just the lives of survivors that Terry Fox touched. Laura pointed out: “When I was four years old, Terry ran through my hometown in Canada. He changed what my view of a hero looks like. Now I know that ordinary people are heroes because of  what they do.

“When Terry had cancer, he didn’t give up. And when he lost his leg, he became a bigger person. So, our students can really learn from that.

“We have a theme every year, and this year it was ‘Courage’. We focused on the courageous stories within our own communities, and how you deal with life’s challenges with that mindset.

The run was also a chance for older and younger students to team up and be buddies. “The sight of the elder students holding the hands of the younger students and motivating them to keep going was a common sight,” Laura exclaimed.

“Everyone should learn from this and become a stronger person. They can then give this hope and strength to others,” said Badar al Mamari from TAISM.

“So, this is one event that brings us all together and it helps us feel like a family.”

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