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Clarke's Beach boy dressing up as his hero Terry Fox for Halloween

Seven-year-old Ethan Smallwood is dressing up this Halloween as his hero, Terry Fox, and will go door to door to collect donations for the Terry Fox Foundation and cancer research.
Seven-year-old Ethan Smallwood is dressing up this Halloween as his hero, Terry Fox, and will go door to door to collect donations for the Terry Fox Foundation and cancer research. - Contributed

Ethan Smallwood — great-great-grandson of Joey Smallwood — also collecting for cancer research

CLARKE'S BEACH, N.L. —

Ethan Smallwood, like most kids in this country, will don his favourite superhero costume to go door to door this Halloween.

But the Conception Bay seven-year-old is dressing up as someone much stronger than Spiderman or Batman, and will have the goal of collecting something more useful than candy.

Ethan is transforming himself into Canadian icon and cancer-research advocate Terry Fox, and will trick-or-treat for financial donations in aid of the Terry Fox Foundation.

“He’s my hero,” the seven-year-old told The Telegram from his home on Roaches Line on Thursday. “He has a good heart.”

“He’s my hero." — Ethan Smallwood

Since he was in kindergarten at All Hallows Elementary School in North River, where he first learned about the one-legged athlete who embarked on a cross-country run to raise money for cancer research in 1980, Ethan has been absorbing as much information about him as he can.

“I learned a lot about him,” said Ethan, who has several books and listens to podcasts about Fox, and has even met the woman who gave Fox his first donation when he was in St. John’s.

“He raised $24.1 million for cancer. He followed his dream.”

Ethan even has Fox’s style of running down pat.

“Sometimes when I go out to ride my bike, I tip over my bike for a bit and practise running like him,” said Ethan, adding that he runs until he is out of breath on the driveway.

He said Terry Fox Day at school helped him get curious about him.

“I ran home and told Mom I wanted to be Terry Fox for Halloween and raise money for cancer research,” he said.

His mother, Candice Smallwood, was happy about it and worked to put together the costume, ordering the “Marathon of Hope” T-shirt from a specialty store online.

“But I’m the one who found the wig,” Ethan said proudly. “We just had to trim it a little.”

Candice said Ethan has been reading and drawing pictures of Fox for the past few years, and even made a prosthetic leg out of a toilet ballcock and brought it to school.

“He probably knows everything about Terry Fox,” she said.

“He’s just been very enthralled with him.”

Halloween-loving household

Smallwood said Halloween costumes are a family affair, with Ethan’s younger brother, Mason, 5, and their father, Stephen Smallwood, helping out.

“They like going to the Sci-Fi on the Rock conventions,” she said. 

“We always do fun costumes. We never just go to the store and buy them. It makes Halloween a lot more work, but definitely worth it. Everyone in the family is excited for Halloween.”

But this Halloween is definitely special.

“He’s the kid who if he sees someone homeless on the street, he’ll come asking for money to give to them.” — Candace Smallwood

Smallwood said many people have commented that Ethan is a “smooth talker” and will likely become a politician like his great-great-grandfather, Joey Smallwood, who was the province’s first premier.

But she said he’s mostly known for his kind heart.

“He’s a very kind child,” she said. “He’s the kid who if he sees someone homeless on the street, he’ll come asking for money to give to them. He’s always thinking of others.”

When asked about his son’s goal this Halloween, Stephen Smallwood said, “He’s got such a good heart and I’m definitely proud to be his dad.“

To make donations for Ethan and the Terry Fox Foundation, visit http://www.terryfox.ca/ethanhalloween.

Twitter: @TelyRosie

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