While the pandemic is putting many community gatherings on hold, other events might actually be getting a boost thanks to the changes.

This year's annual Polar Bear Run at Peacock Collegiate surpassed all expectations in terms of participants and funds raised for the Terry Fox Foundation, even though it wasn't able to operate under normal circumstances.

Instead of their usual community race down in Wakamow Valley, students and teachers completed the 5k run on school grounds as a classroom challenge. 

Sarah Clarke teaches at Peacock and is the organizer of the event. She describes how the change in format affected the turnout.

"So this year we actually had almost half the school participate in the challenge which is amazing. Usually, we have about 100 people from the community and the school come together and this year we actually almost tripled that number. In total, we had about 250 participants."

Clarke says the students were excited to not only head outside and get some exercise, but also engage in the fight against cancer.

"Cancer affects every one of us at some point in our lives. So it's important for us to educate kids about the purpose behind fundraisers like this. It's not just for our own health but also to remember the people near and dear to our hearts that we've lost."

While everyone was happy to help out as much as they could, Clarke says some students went above and beyond what was expected.

"We had some students accumulate kilometres on their own. One student, Emma Doucette, actually accumulated almost 60 kilometres by herself. We also had a student in our Grade 9 classroom, TiRay Caron, who raised the most money on his own with a total of $370. We're very lucky to have such great students."

This year's run brought in $2,500 which all went to the Terry Fox Foundation. Over the nine years that it has been held, the run has raised over $45,000 to fund cancer research.


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