Last year the Eston Composite School raised $2651 for the Terry Fox foundation during the annual Marathon of Hope. Even though this was a huge increase from previous years, they set a new and higher goal for 2022. "Our schools very lofty goal was $10,000," said Grade 4 teacher Erin Trytten.

She's had some family and friends effected by cancer so she's passionate about the cause. In the first school assembly of the year, she announced that the Terry Fox Walk would happen, why it's important, and provided some incentives to raise money for the cause. "In order to spark some excitement and passion in the students, I told them that if they raised $5000 that I would dye my hair to match the school colours."

The students cheered loudly.

Trytten continued, "and if they were to raise $10,000 I promised that I would shave my head!" Imagine the reaction from the 250 students grades K-12. Coming out of that assembly the excitement and energy was palpable, but a problem was looming. A couple days passed and no donations came in. The rubber wasn't hitting the road. 

Here's what she did. "I reached out to the staff to see if we could brainstorm some ideas. We spitballed a few things and we got four teachers to step up for another fun fundraiser." Four teachers volunteered to get pied in the face by any student who personally brought in $200 or more.

They had 15 students reach that goal. Momentum was building. They had more ideas coming in which included a hat day, and a pyjama day. "The K to 6 students don't get to wear hats during school." Trytten said students could pay $2 each to participate in that day, and $2 each for pyjama day. The money all went into the pot with the end goal to raise money for cancer research.

Since 1988 the Terry Fox Foundation has raised over $800 million dollars for cancer research. Terry wouldn't take corporate sponsorship on his original Marathon of Hope as he thought it would detract from the goal of creating awareness. Every race ever since has been volunteer led, all inclusive and non competetive. It is truly a great cause in honour of, and in memory of, a great Canadian who selflessly set out to run across Canada April 12th 1980.

"So we had four teachers who volunteered to get pied in the face. I would dye my hair red and black if we got to $5,000 and I'd shave my head for $10,000." Trytten recaps her amazing story of igniting a school in mid-September. "Our highest fundraising day was between September 15th and 16th. We had over $3000 come in in that 24 hour period."

"Yeah, it was wild. So then that put our total over 5000 and I contacted Katie Austin, who's a local hairdresser in Eston, and she donated the hair dye." Katie came to school and did some hairdressing on Monday the 19th and the big reveal, along with the pie throwing was set for the next day.   

On Tuesday September 20th at a school wide assembly the wild new haircut was revealed along with the grand total raised. "The 15 students got to put whipped cream into the teacher's faces and I got to show off my new hair. Our grand total was $7402."

Erin Trytten has taught at Eston Composite since 2011. She took part in the Terry Fox Walk on Friday September 16th at 11am. She was joined by almost 300 others including students, staff, and parents. She helped raise over seven thousand dollars for this noble cause, but the most important thing she did, and it might be the hardest thing to do these days is that she motivated a group of people and that is a story worth telling.