From left: Morgan Plato (7 1/2), Antonio Casiohill (8), Emma Yarwood (10), Chase de Balinhard (8) and Payton Yarwood (8). (Sam Anderson)

Clayton boy turns 8, throws cancer research fundraiser instead of birthday party

Chase de Balinhard, 8, spent his birthday raising money for his hero Terry Fox.

Chase de Balinhard turned 8 years old today, but he isn’t celebrating with a typical party.

For Chase, June 28 is special for another reason, too. It’s the day his hero Terry Fox died.

Terry Fox was forced to end his Marathon of Hope on September 1, 1980, when he learned that his cancer had returned and spread to his lungs. He passed away at Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster on June 28, 1981. The Terry Fox Run, held in his honour annually since 1981, is now the largest one-day fundraiser for cancer research in the world.

Fox’s legacy is carried on by people all over the world, including in Clayton Heights by 8-year-old Chase.

Chase and four of his friends – Morgan Plato, Emma and Payton Yarwood and Antonio Casiohill – set up shop in front of the Clayton Heights Save-on-Foods, 18710 Fraser Hwy, from 3—4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 28, selling freezies to raise money for cancer research.

“Terry Fox is my grandson’s hero,” said Linda Stewart, Chase’s grandmother.

“At school they had a day where you had to dress up as your heroes. Most kids showed up in superhero or princess costumes,” said Stewart. “He dressed as Terry Fox.”

Chase told his mom, Crystal, that he wanted to raise $1 million and run across Canada. She said that a first step might be to try to raise $100 by selling freezies on a warm June afternoon.

Chase had his Terry Fox t-shirt on when The Reporter visited to wish him a happy birthday, and he stood beside a box decorated to look like the van that travelled alongside Fox on his Marathon of Hope.

“I like Terry Fox, all the time,” said Chase. “I like him a lot.”

What does he like about Terry Fox?

“I like his shirt and stuff. And his legs,” he said.

“And his courage,” Chase’s dad, Rick, added.


Chase de Balinhard, who turned 8 years old today, with a birthday gift. (Sam Anderson)