At 10 years of age, Terry began to experience an inexplicable pain in the right side of his face. At the age of 11, the doctors diagnosed him with cancer. The next 2 years were filled with a series of radiation treatments, chemo therapy and very little hope of a cure. When he was deathly ill, his father sat beside his bed, started to cry and said to Terry, “If I could change places with you, Son, I would do it.” Terry then reached for a Kleenex and gave it his father and calmly said, “Dad, if you or Mom or one of the other kids had to be sick, I am glad it was me because I CAN TAKE IT.”
With June at his side, in the summer of his “Grade 7” year, Terry passed away at St. Mary’s Hospital in New Westminster, B.C., Canada.
Terry’s life here on earth, although too short, has left an incredible impact on his family and friends for generations to come. His courage, his faith and his unbridled optimism made it possible for his family to cope with his suffering and eventual passing on August 18, 1970.
Over the years, Terry’s courage had inspired June to be courageous in her work and in her life. She felt committed to continue his legacy of helping the less fortunate and the downtrodden, and worked on the streets with the homeless, helped heal families affected by alcoholism and founded and ran a home for adults with special needs. She did all this with the same faith and optimism that Terry had.
Soon after her retirement, her daughter gave her a birthday present – a small sum of cash to be used by June in any way she wanted – in the cause of helping others. June took the money, and went off to Guatemala to work at an orphanage, sanding down and painting desks a bright yellow and red, cleaning, and doing whatever they needed. Eventually, she headed off on a small boat and met a Mr. Kamal Jahanbein. His NGO, Kamal Foundation was the school building organization that CAFRED founders, Mauricio, Eduardo and I had volunteered with. She told him of a community she had heard of that needed a school in a far away village and they both went to see the site.
June fundraised and worked with Kamal Jahanbein and CAFRED founders on the school building project in 2008 in Rio Dulce, Livingston, Guatemala.
On her way back to Vancouver from a trip to the finished school in Guatemala in January of 2010, she visited us in Washington, DC. It was at that time that she told me the story about her son, Terry. On that same visit, I showed her the photographs that Mauricio and I had taken of our proposed project in Rio Frio, San Vicente, El Salvador. When she saw the pictures, she exclaimed, “that’s my school! I can do this project!” After that, she committed to be the principal donor.
I could not resist naming the school after Terry as I never forgot his story. I thought his story would be an inspiration to the children – and an example of the power and dignity of children. I told the community school board about June and Terry and asked if they would consider renaming the school, and they immediately agreed. (They joked only at the prospect of having to learn to pronounce his name: “Terry Allen Fedorchuk”!)
I wanted June to be surprised by the name change when she came to the Inauguration so I asked her daughter in Canada if we could go forward with the idea. With Tracey’s and her siblings’ permission, we then approached the Salvadoran Ministry of Education.
To their credit, the Salvadoran Ministry required that we make a formal case for the proposal. After receiving the required paperwork from both CAFRED and the community of Rio Frio, they said that the decision would have to be approved by June, and that the approval would have to be in writing, with her signature attached. I told Tracey right away, as time was getting short, and she drove to her Mom’s to get her approval. After seeing the proposed school emblem with Terry’s name and the flag of Canada emblazoned in the crest, and a good cry, June wrote the letter to MinEd.
With June’s letter in hand, the Salvadoran government approved the name change.
-Gary Urra, CAFRED President