Terry Fox’s message of hope, and his resilience in the face of great adversity, resonates with comedian and musician Nicole Arbour.
The captain of Go Team, a power of positive thinking movement, was the host and emcee for the Terry Fox Run UCC for the first time. The 5K and 10K run, walk or ride, held Sept. 14 and headed up by Chris Henry, wound its way through the neighbourhoods of Forest Hill, Cedarvale and Humewood.
“[Terry Fox Run] reached out and asked me if I wanted to do it, and I said yes, one million percent,” she said in conversation with the Town Crier. “That’s something awesome, and Terry Fox is a great story that resonates with me.”
In 2008, Arbour was in a life-altering car accident. She suffered injuries to her spine, head, neck and nervous system.
“I went through a few years where I was disabled,” she said. “I was told I wouldn’t get better. I couldn’t walk most days. I was in chronic pain.
“After being told I wouldn’t get better, I had a moment where I heard Denzel Washington in my head — his game day speech: ‘It’s not time to give up. It’s time to get up’.
“I literally cheered myself back to life. I believed I would get better, tried a different treatment and got myself off all of the prescription drugs I had been put on and now I’m performing at huge music festivals, dancing — I have new music coming out, three new TV shows — and it’s all after I was told I wouldn’t get better.”
Arbour brought several members of her Go Team out to the big day to help volunteer. Go Team was born of her mantra of staying positive.
“Positive thought literally changes everything,” Arbour said. “I had Post-it notes all over my house — still do — with sayings like ‘Fear is not real’, ‘All things are possible’.
“Every time I had a negative thought in my head — ‘The pain is not going to get better’, ‘Give up’ — I would have to counter that. The more I did that the more I cheered for other people, and the more I did that the better I felt about myself.”
Henry welcomed the extra help, as well as the help of paralympic swimmer Andrew Haley, who suffered from osteosarcoma, the type of cancer with which Terry Fox was stricken. Haley lost his right leg and left lung to the disease.
“You’ll see that they both believe in determination, inspiration and belief, the same thing Terry Fox believed in: anything can be possible if you try,” Henry said of both Arbour and Haley.
One of the many goals for the run was to raise $200,000 for cancer research. Another was to raise the profile of Upper Canada College in the community.
“For UCC it’s about bringing the community into their school,” Henry said. “They don’t have a lot of community events. This is a key event to bring people into the school.
“The other thing that is, if they look up their culture of the boys, Terry emulates a lot of the values and beliefs that they believe about boys. They believe in Terry Fox.”