This year’s Terry Fox Run kick-off assembly at Groh Public School was more than just about getting their students excited to raise money for cancer research. It was about making a difference in someone’s life closer to home.

In May, life changed for Kim Graham.

The proud vice-principal was going through life like everyone else – balancing work, family, and a healthy, active lifestyle – when she received the bone cancer diagnosis.

Kim Graham talks to students at Groh Public School.

Shortly after receiving the news, she underwent surgery to remove the cancer cells and replace her hip and femur with a metal implant. Her doctor was pleased with the results; however, her medical team told Graham she would not be able to run or jump again, and that she would walk with a limp for the rest of her life. But, Mrs. Graham has other plans.

Her optimistic attitude and caring nature helped her stay positive during some of her darkest days. The road to recovery is long, but in the words of Graham, “every step is a therapy step.”

On September 3, she returned to Groh PS for another school year.

At the school’s fundraising kick-off assembly, she shared her cancer journey to students and emphasized the vital role The Terry Fox Foundation played in her recovery.

“Because of Terry Fox, and students like you running to raise money, research has come leaps and bounds and new cancer treatments are available.” Her orthopedic oncologist, Dr. Wilson, helped put her back together. “Thanks to your fundraising efforts, Dr. Wilson can continue to do research and specialize in cancer of the bones,” said Graham.

Kim Graham thanks the Groh community for their support of the Terry Fox Rrun.

She also talked about the importance of having a strong support system and allowing yourself to lean on those closest to you because we all need support when times are tough.

“I want you to know, even in your most challenging moments, you must never, ever give up. When we go through challenging times, we need a support system,” said Graham. “It’s okay to cry. It’s okay to have hard days. It’s okay to ask for help.”

Groh PS was one of 9,000 schools across Canada that participated in the Terry Fox Run. More than 3 million students walked and ran together to show their compassion for those living with cancer.

Groh PS students with Kim Graham as they participate in the Terry Fox Run.

On October 4, the school raised $1,831.55, surpassing the initial fundraising goal of $1,600. This generosity happened without any of the usual incentives of someone shaving their head, kissing a fish or wearing crazy clothes. The Groh community truly gave from their hearts to help one of their own.

“My goal is to run again, bike again and do everything I did before I got bone cancer,” said Graham. “I will be able to do all of that because of the awareness Terry Fox gave to cancer and the importance of research.”

WRDSB is proud of the contributions our students, staff and community made. They have truly made a difference in those fighting the great fight.

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