Terrion closing in Million Dollar Man status

Richard and Sarah Schleich of Hub City Volkswagen present Jim Terrion with a cheque for $250, which goes towards Terrion's fundraising total for the Terry Fox Run. Bill Phillips photo
Richard and Sarah Schleich of Hub City Volkswagen present Jim Terrion with a cheque for $250, which goes towards Terrion’s fundraising total for the Terry Fox Foundation. Bill Phillips photo

BY BILL PHILLIPS
bill@pgdailynews.ca

No one can raise money for the Terry Fox Foundation like Jim Terrion.

Since 1991 he’s raised $682,147.15. On Monday he collected another $250 as Richard and Sarah Schleich of Hub City Volkswagen donated to the foundation, through Jim.

“He’s been a bit of a local legend,” said Sarah. “I think this is an opportunity for us to support one of our own.”

Terrion had asked Hub City Volkswagen for a $50 donation but the Schleich’s decided $50 wasn’t enough.

Terrion has been raising money for a good many years and most of it is done by canvassing door-to-door. It can be difficult as Terrion was born deaf.

He communicates mostly by writing down what he wants to say or by using sign language. It can be a frustrating and slow process. Especially for new people he meets on the street or those who open their doors when he’s out canvassing.

That has never stopped him though from raising whopping amounts of money for charity events and causes he holds dear to him like the annual Terry Fox Run.

Originally from Prince Rupert, he spends a couple of weeks there prior to that community’s Terry Fox Run and raises funds. Last year, he raised $23,427 in the coastal town in just 18 days. That was a big part of the $32,432 he raised between August 7 and September 18 (the Terry Fox Run) last year. On Tuesday he heads back out to Prince Rupert to do some fundraising there, before returning to Prince George.

His fundraising efforts would be exceptional for any person but Terrion is dealing with a disability. In 1990 he walked across Canada and back, 6,300 miles in eight months, on a fundraising mission to raise awareness for people with hearing disabilities.

He continues to challenge himself every day. That has made him try even harder and set his sights even higher.

“He was walking through Saskatchewan years ago in temperatures of -45 degrees Celsius and the driver asked him to stop, he wouldn’’t stop. He just kept on going. He always pushes himself to do more. That hasn’’t changed.”

In one day, on August 7, 1990, he logged 100 kilometres. In his journal, Terrion wrote that he got up at five or six in the morning and “never stopped” until dark.

Just as he never stopped walking on that trip across the country, Terrion isn’t about to stop fundraising either. A few years back he set his sights on raising $1 million for the Terry Fox Foundation and, closing in on $700,000, that goal is well within sight.

Inspired by his childhood hero, Terry Fox, who overcame adversity to run his Marathon of Hope and motivate people to support cancer research, Terrion gets lots of recognition for his fundraising efforts.

He has a framed portrait of Terry Fox given to him by the family and Terry Fox Foundation. He also has numerous plaques, certificates and a signed picture from his friend Rick Hansen, a bronzed running shoe, a momentoe of his walk on behalf of the deaf community.

His most prized possession? A photograph of him dropping the puck in Vancouver on Oct. 29, 2011 at a Canucks game.

“Jim was about 12 when his mother Faye got him to the Jericho Hill School for the Deaf in Vancouver. ““When he was a young boy, people actually thought he was mentally challenged because he could not communicate.”

Nothing could be further from the truth.

They discovered he has normal hearing in his outer ear, so he can hear a beeping car horn or something loud like that. The problem is he has 95 per cent hearing loss in his inner ear which controls the speech and language.”

Terrion graduated school in 1980. He began training for his first walk in 1977, hoping to raise awareness about the many challenges facing deaf and hearing impaired people.

During his time walking and  raising money and awareness, Terrion has made friends all over the world. In 2015 he participated in the Terry Fox Run in Malaysia and it looking to get back there by 2020.

If you see Jim, and his mother Faye who helps him, out canvassing, dig deep and help him become the Million Dollar Man.