Jim Terrion gets a surprise donation for Terry Fox

John Brink of the Brink Group presents Jim Terrion with a cheque for $1,000, bringing Terrion's fundraising efforts for the Terry Fox Foundation to just over $720,000. Bill Phillips photo
John Brink of the Brink Group presents Jim Terrion with a cheque for $1,000, bringing Terrion’s fundraising efforts for the Terry Fox Foundation to just over $720,000. Bill Phillips photo

Jim Terrion is used to receiving donations.

He has been fundraising for the Terry Fox Foundation for more than 25 years but a special donation caught him a little off-guard Monday. John Brink, founder and CEO of the Brink Group, presented him with a $1,000 cheque to go towards the foundation.

That puts Terrion’s fundraising total over $720,000 since he started raising money in the 1990s. Most of his fund-raising is done by canvassing door-to-door. It can be difficult as Terrion was born deaf.

“He has accomplished so much,” said Brink. “The determination is absolutely breathtaking … It is just a privilege to be part of that.”

Terrion’s mother Faye, who usually accompanies him when he does his canvassing was ecstatic with the donation.

“He just hasn’t had one like that for a long time,” she said.

Faye said Terry Fox was a hero of Jim’s when Canadian icon was running the Marathon of Hope and Jim watched him every day on television.

“Then he said, ‘he is disabled and I am disabled too, I want to walk across Canada,’” she said, adding she didn’t even know where to start. However, a couple from Victoria sponsored him.

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.

Terrion 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. Jim and Faye will be heading to Prince Rupert again this week to raise funds but will be back in Prince George for the Terry Fox Run, set for September 16.

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

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.

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.