by Andru McCracken
Mike Westerhoud of Norquay Saskatchewan has a few things in common with Terry Fox: both developed cancer as youth, and both of them lost a leg to the disease. Neither one let it stop them from achieving great things.
Thirty years after being diagnosed with cancer, Westerhoud decided to mark the occasion with an epic trek. He made his way to Valemount on motorcycles with two friends. His mission was to climb Mount Terry Fox and he made it as far as the treeline – 1000m in elevation.
“I had the same thing that Terry had. I was diagnosed when I was 15 years old. That was back in 1988,” he said. “I had treatment for a little bit to try to shrink the tumor, but it didn’t work. The cancer actually kind of spread.”
So shortly after turning 16, he had his leg amputated. Since then he has used crutches to get around.
Westerhoud believes he may be a beneficiary of Terry’s work.
“I’m sure that could very well be a part of the reason I’m still here today, because of some of the money that he raised for research,’ he said. “Especially because it is the same kind of cancer that he had.”
Westerhoud said he had the opportunity to have his photo taken with Terry’s brother Fred Fox and Terry’s niece Kirsten Fox. He considers the Fox’s Canada’s royal family.
“I have a lot of respect and admiration for Terry Fox,” he said.
Westerhoud said his goal is to reach the summit one day. He plans to try for it in 2020.
“We’ve got to sit down and figure out how to make it work,” he said.
He and his friend Doug Nelson, another cancer survivor, are talking about the training regimen already.
Westerhoud is a draftsman who works remotely in Norquay, Saskatchewan where his wife is a pastor.