First and foremost, Team Finn is about Finn. About celebrating life in the way that Finn lived; by
Running Jumping Bouncing Dancing Singing Loving Smiling and Riding. Always and forever about Finn.
The Team Finn Foundation is also committed to changing the face of pediatric cancer research. We
are a volunteer organization dedicated to ensuring that 100% of the funds the Team Finn Foundation
receives are committed to pediatric cancer research and supporting families in need. We do this
because of Finn and because pediatric cancer research offers hope to all struck by this horrible disease.
Ultimately we do what we do to Change the Story for Other Finns.
But rather than talk about what we do (and we do a lot), I thought it was important to share how we do
it. Because while Team Finn is dedicated to making a difference in pediatric cancer, we are also about
fun and we are definitely about sharing the mantra: Run Jump Bounce Dance Sing Love Smile and Ride.
The mantra itself comes from Finn. Finn lived it every chance he got. And here’s the thing. Finn
continued to live the mantra even when it got very hard . He continued to press forward until the
tumours that had invaded his prostate, his lymph nodes, his lungs, his liver, his spine and who knows
where else wouldn’t let him any more. And even then he tried. Until the end he always tried. And that’s
why we say, it is easy when it’s easy, but a person’s true measure is whether they can do it when it’s
And Finn did. And that is why we want Finn remembered as the boy lived with cancer, not the boy who
died of cancer. And that is why we say (always) that Finn did not lose his battle. Finn died. The doctors
lost the battle. We suffered a loss. But if asked we will say and will always say that Finn never lost a
But I am getting ahead of myself. In February 2007, Finn was diagnosed with cancer. We couldn’t change
that, but Finn never was “cancer” or rather the cancer never was Finn.
Finn loved life and lived life large despite constant medical interventions. Because of the damage caused
by the primary tumour before it was detected, Finn spent most of the last half of his life toting one or
more urinary bags . The “pee bag”. Without having any data to back this up, I am confident Finn went
through more pee bags in a short period of time than any kid ever did. He ran with them, he jumped
with them, he danced with them, he rode with them; he would jump on his little yellow car, tuck his
pee bag behind his back and zoom down the hill on our cul de sac. He also constantly blew them out.
Before the hospital got to know Finn, they were very reluctant to supply us with replacement pee bags.
That changed when we showed up at Children’s with Finn’s leaking pee bag covered with a ziplock bag
and tape. Finn had quite simply worn the pee bag out. Ran right through it. It got to the point that the
term “peecident ” became a part of our vocabulary. A peecident in Ottawa in March 2008 closed down
a McDonald’s Playland. A peecident at Baird and Finn’s third birthday party temporarily closed down the
bouncy castle. A good wipe and all the kids including Finn were right back at it.
Run Jump Bounce Dance Sing Love Smile and Ride is also a tribute to the way we lived as a family in a
very difficult time.
For example, in the fall of 2007, we had to take Finn to Boston for specialized radiation treatment. We
left approximately two weeks after Finn’s major resection surgery (where they removed a large tumour
from Finn’s abdomen) at Children’s Hospital in Vancouver. My recollection is that Finn traveled across
the continent with four separate bags catching various body fluids. We were in Boston less that 24
hours when we had to take Finn in to emergency because of a major problem with one of the bags. This
resulted in an additional, major surgery in Boston and a delay in the radiation treatment and a longer
stay in Boston. To sum it up, all of that really sucked.
But on to my point. When I think about Boston, I don’t think about the medical side. I think about how
a week after Finn’s major surgery in Boston we were at the zoo. I think about the Duck Boats and how
much fun we had at the Science Center. I think about taking a boat to Salem. I think about going to see
the ducks and Sarah break dancing in front of Faneuil Hall. I think about the kids playing in the parks
and the Children’s Museum and all the people who came to give us a hand. I think about how much fun
it was reading the “Waterhole” by Graeme Base to Baird and Finn and how they started filling in the
words for me and how much time we spent looking at the pictures in that book. I think about morning
walks with Finn and Daddy/Sarah days and Daddy/ Baird days. I think about five of us sleeping in one
room and how much fun that was. So when I think about Boston, I don’t think about surgeries or daily
radiation treatments. I think about what a good time our family had. I think about how we Ran, we
Jumped, we Danced, we Sang, we Smiled, we Loved and we Rode.
Ultimately, what you need to know is the mantra came from Finn. Sam and I came up with the words.
Finn lived them. Sam and I think everyone can learn from Finn and that the mantra will help everyone
remember Finn. Ride We came up with the mantra for the purpose of celebrating Finn’s life and
reminding people how he lived while he lived.
At Finn’s celebration of life, we distributed bookmarks with a picture of Finn jumping high in the air and
the date of his birth and death.
The mantra has also become very important to Team Finn. Team Finn does not just Run marathons, it
Run Jumps Bounces Dances Sings Loves and Smiles them. While I am very proud of what Team Finn has
accomplished, nothing, and I mean nothing makes me prouder than the way Team Finn approaches the
events we participate in.
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