Ethan Smallwood stretches and lets out a big yawn as he leans back in a chair in The Telegram boardroom Friday morning.
“I woke up so early today,” he said, adjusting his wig, which he wore as part of his Terry Fox costume.
You can excuse the seven-year-old from Clarke’s Beach for being a little tired. It’s been a long two weeks of fundraising and media interviews, not to mention a busy night of trick or treating.
Weeks after the Grade 2 student at All Hallows Elementary School in North River came home and announced he wanted to dress up as the Canadian icon, his hero, for Halloween, to raise money for the Terry Fox Foundation and cancer research, the results have been astounding.
Ethan has raised almost $23,000, including $700 Thursday night while going door to door for Halloween.
“It was good,” he said when asked how it went. “A lot of people said, ‘Cool costume.’ My friends thought my costume was very cool too when they saw me trick or treating.”
“He got a lot of ‘God love ya’s and ‘You’re some sweet’ comments and ‘Bless your heart,’” his mother Candice Smallwood added.
She said when they first started fundraising, she was concerned they would surpass the $500 mark. She was blown away with the response.
“It’s been amazing,” she said. “We just can’t thank people enough.”
Ethan —the great-great-grandchild of this province’s first premier, Joey Smallwood — has shown great interest in Terry Fox, the Canadian icon, and his 1980 Marathon of Hope since he was in kindergarten.
His Terry Fox costume and inspiring determination to fundraise this Halloween drew attention from people all across Canada — including Terry Fox’s family.
Fred Fox, Terry Fox’s older brother, called Ethan last week.
“He was a nice guy and he said I was a kind guy,” Ethan said.
“He said (Ethan was) kind and had a big heart,” Candice added.
Ethan also asked Fred what he missed most about his brother, who was 14 months older than Terry. Fred told him he missed spending time with him.
Candice added that someone gave Ethan’s younger brother, Mason, $5 because they felt bad for him.
“Mason went and put it in his brother’s bucket,” Candice said. “I could’ve melted.”
The family plans to continue fundraising for charity, but on a lower key.
They hope to collect Lego sets and take them to the Janeway Children’s Hospital in St. John’s so that Ethan can play with the children who are battling cancer.
“At 7, it’s really hard to grasp what cancer is,” Candice said, “So, I think it’s really important to learn about it and meet some children (cancer patients).”
To donate to Ethan’s fundraiser for the Terry Fox Foundation, visit http://www.terryfox.ca/ethanhalloween.