Conestoga news

November 11, 2013 12:50 PM

Design student honoured for community service

Each year, the Terry Fox Foundation receives hundreds of applications for the Terry Fox Humanitarian award from individuals across Canada who exhibit exceptional success in academic, voluntary and career positions. Conestoga student Joshua Nelson, 19, has been selected as one of only 20 recipients for 2013.

The award itself reads, “In recognition of having demonstrated the highest ideals and qualities of citizenship and humanitarian service while in pursuit of excellence in academic, amateur sport, fitness, health and voluntary community service. In so doing has reflected those ideals of courage, humanitarianism, service and compassion, which Terry Fox embodied.”

While Fox passed away prior to completing his Marathon of Hope in 1981 - a marathon driven by courage and strength in an effort to fund cancer research - the Canadian government helps carry on his legacy by funding this award. Since its creation in 1982, the award has supported caring, community-driven individuals in continuing their humanitarian efforts while they pursue post-secondary education.

Much like Terry Fox, Joshua Nelson lives each day with tenacity and courage, spending a vast majority of his time in the community. After being diagnosed with cancer ten years ago, he became increasingly involved in volunteering, raising awareness and providing others with support. He was encouraged to apply to the program by a friend and fellow recipient from Calgary.

Volunteering at Golf For a Cure, Kidsability and Rotary, summer camps, the Cambridge Youth Activity Council and participating in Relay for Life, Nelson also keeps very busy as a Design Foundations student at Conestoga.

The 19-year-old Cambridge resident also participated in a ride across Ontario in 2010, and the 17-day Sears National Kids Cancer Ride across Canada in 2011.

After receiving a DVD about the Terry Fox story, Nelson watched it during his trip across Ontario, while heading toward the Terry Fox monument in Thunder Bay. “There wasn’t a point where there was a dry eye,” he recalled.

“I’ve always seen (Terry) as a good person to look up to,” Nelson said. “Knowing I’m basically carrying out his legacy has opened my eyes more to helping people out, and seeing and doing the greater good.”

Haley Bartlett, a Practical Nursing student at Conestoga, was also named as a 2013 recipient of the award.

For more information about the Terry Fox Humanitarian Award program, visit ¬

Story by Laurie Snell, second-year student in Conestoga’s Print-Journalism program.