The season of Terry Fox runs has come and gone — except in Clarke’s Beach, N.L., where a little superfan is keeping his Canadian hero’s legacy alive by sacrificing Halloween candy to raise money for cancer research.
Ethan Smallwood, 7, has put together a stellar costume reflecting Fox’s 1980 Marathon of Hope outfit, and he’s raised more than $10,000 for the charity that bears his hero’s name.
The costume includes a curly wig, a Canada T-shirt, grey jogging shorts, white tube socks and a black stocking to simulate Fox’s artificial leg. It’s the same look Fox sported when he set out in his cross-country run in 1980.
Ethan shows off his costume in a fundraising video posted online Oct. 17, in which he even mimics Fox’s distinctive run.
“Hi everybody, my name’s Ethan, but this year, for Halloween, I’m being my hero, Terry Fox,” Ethan says in the video. “Instead of candy, which my mom doesn’t let me eat, I’m going to raise money for cancer research.”
He then encourages viewers to click his donation link.
“Bye!” he says. “Thank you for your support!”
Ethan’s costume has spread widely on social media this month, allowing him to solicit hundreds of donations in the name of cancer research. He blew past the $3,000 mark on Monday and was on the verge of hitting $11,000 by Wednesday afternoon.
But that won’t be enough for Ethan. He intends to use Halloween trick-or-treating to drum up more support for the Terry Fox Foundation — and he’s vowed to ask for donations, not candy, when he goes door to door.
Ethan says it’s the least he could do, given all that Fox did while battling cancer.
“He’s my hero,” Ethan told the Saltwire News Network. “He has a good heart.”
Ethan’s mother, Candice Smallwood, says her son has been obsessed with Fox since learning about him in kindergarten two years ago. The boy’s room is filled with posters and books dedicated to Fox. That’s why when Halloween came around, his choice of costume was a no-brainer.
The Terry Fox Foundation has also noticed Ethan’s costume.
“You’re melting hearts across the Atlantic Provinces, and I have a feeling it won’t be long before your story is touching hearts coast-to-coast!” Ashley Blenkhorn, of the foundation’s Nova Scotia branch, wrote in a comment on Ethan’s video.
The foundation hailed Ethan’s work in a Facebook post on Tuesday.
“Little man, you rock,” The Terry Fox Foundation wrote. “Go Ethan!”
More than 300 people have donated to Ethan’s fundraising page this month, and many have left messages of support along with their donations.
“This is amazing!” user Kyle Metcalf wrote on Wednesday. “Imagine if just a few kids in each province, each year, could do something like what Ethan has done this Halloween. We can kick cancer in the butt!”