Fox medallist inspired by hero’s courage
Christine Tulloch, 604.377.3026, firstname.lastname@example.org
Bonnie Tulloch, 604.710.3963, email@example.com
Karen Tulloch, 604.825.5228, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sue Armitage, SFU Terry’s CAUSE on Campus Committee, 778.782.5434, email@example.com
Carol Thorbes, PAMR, 778.782.3035, firstname.lastname@example.org
Seeing Simon Fraser University’s 2013 Terry Fox Gold Medal recipient look like the picture of health and hearing her enthusiasm for mentoring young adult cancer survivors, you’d never know she flourishes against all odds.
Christine Tulloch, diagnosed with leukemia at age 19 and left bald after two years of chemotherapy, has regrown her long blonde hair. She has turned her battle with cancer into a mission to help others, as Fox did decades ago.
The Fox medal is awarded annually to a student who demonstrates courage in the face of adversity. It includes three terms’ free tuition at SFU, a $1,000 cash prize, a gold medal and a plaque.
SFU President Andrew Petter will bestow the award on Tulloch on Sept. 24, the day of SFU’s Terry Fox Run/Walk.
In the last seven years, four of them while pursuing her undergrad degree in English at SFU, Tulloch has helped raise more than $40,000 for numerous cancer-fighting groups.
They include SFU’s student society-based Club for the Cure, the B.C. Children’s Hospital’s Balding for Dollars and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Canada.
Fox has also inspired her to mentor children, teens and young adults, particularly, young women, with cancer.
“In my search for healing,” says Tulloch, “I realized there aren’t many places for young adult survivors to go for help. They are mostly for older or much younger survivors. I also realized there is a significant lack of scholarships available for young adult survivors who want to pursue a post-secondary education.”
Tulloch counsels children and teens in the Canadian Cancer Society’s Camp Goodtimes program. She is planning her second iteration of Girls Glamour Night, an event she conceived of and held this year for B.C. Children’s Hospital to help raise teenaged-female-cancer patients’ spirits. Tulloch, now six courses away from finishing her degree, is coordinating an October 24th event for the BC Childhood Cancer Parents Association.
Turning 26 on Sept. 26, the graduate of Walnut Grove Secondary in Langley is a passionate fundraiser and mentor, despite enduring her cancer treatment’s ongoing side effects.
Tulloch suffers from chronic migraines, high blood pressure, a weakened heart and increased risk of other cancers.
Due to medication-driven concentration and memory challenges, she also battles constant anxiety about her academic performance, despite maintaining As and B pluses.
Along with making multiple monthly visits to doctors, Tulloch takes three courses a semester and holds down a 20-hour a week, part-time job at Surrey Sport and Leisure Complex to finance her education.
“Terry didn’t run for himself, he ran for the rest of us, so that we would have a future. That is why I do what I do,” explains Tulloch, whose mother and grandmother are graduates of SFU’s Faculty of Education.
Tulloch’s two younger sisters, Karen and Bonnie — community-engaged SFU achievers in their own right — praise their elder sister for being their personal role model, cheerleader, and one of their best friends.
“She doesn’t just have courage but she gives courage,” says Karen. The SFU biomedical physiology and kinesiology major helped Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield develop a pre-flight exercise program.
“She epitomizes the goals of Terry Fox,” adds Bonnie, a 2012 SFU world literature grad who made local headlines by creating an earthquake-related fundraiser for the Red Cross. “Fighting for her own life wasn’t enough for Christine. She had to fight for the lives of those around her as well.”
Simon Fraser University is Canada's top-ranked comprehensive university and one of the top 50 universities in the world under 50 years old. With campuses in Vancouver, Burnaby and Surrey, B.C., SFU engages actively with the community in its research and teaching, delivers almost 150 programs to more than 30,000 students, and has more than 120,000 alumni in 130 countries.
Simon Fraser University: Engaging Students. Engaging Research. Engaging Communities.