Honour a hero's legacy, run for Terry
By Darren Lum
Published Sept. 5, 2017
When Canadians think of Terry Fox it’s difficult to not be inspired.
Fox’s story is the stuff of movie magic. Only it was real as the 18-year-old with a dream to end cancer.
Back in 1980, Fox was diagnosed with bone cancer and was forced to have his leg amputated 15 centimetres above his knee.
He was inspired to run across Canada, finding motivation from the cancer patients he was with in the hospital while undergoing his own treatment, looking to raise a dollar for every Canadian and hoped the money would fund cancer research and find a cure.
He started his Marathon of Hope on April 12, 1980, in St. John’s, Nfld., and averaged some 42 kilometres, or a marathon a day, through six provinces before his run was stopped because his primary cancer had spread to his lungs.
By that point, Fox had run 5,373 kilometres over 143 days, stopping in Thunder Bay. A day later, the Four Seasons CEO/chairperson Isadore Sharp sent a telegram to the Fox family about organizing a fundraising run in Terry’s name.
June 28, 1981, Fox died, one month short of his 21st birthday. His death stunned the country, but it was the beginning of Terry Fox runs to be held in his name in Canada and around the world. There has been more than $750 million raised for cancer research from these events.
Like other years, Haliburton’s 37th annual Terry Fox Run is about bringing everyone together to run in Terry’s name to raise awareness and important funds for cancer research on Sunday, Sept. 17.
Jennifer Button is organizing her third run and loves how the event inspires people, even 37 years after it started here in Haliburton. Some told her how they have been coming for more than 30 years and there were others motivated to run their first event.
“Last year we had a [local youth], who I believe was 13. He did his first five [kilometre] run with us ever. It was great to see the other participants come cheer him on and help him out on the route. It was great to see him do his first run,” she said.
The local paramedic continues to be passionate about the event and what it represents.
“There are so many good reasons behind the run. We remember Terry Fox as a Canadian hero. To support cancer research initiatives at the [Terry] Fox Foundation. Just running in general, getting outside, introducing people to the sport of running or just seeing people challenge themselves to a farther walk than they have ever done before,” she said.
Eighty-two cents for every dollar raised contributes to cancer research. Button’s main focus, like other years, is to draw as many participants as possible. However, her fundraising goal is to follow Terry’s dream, which was to raise a dollar for every Canadian. With Haliburton’s population at close to 6,000, Button wants to raise more than $6,000, bettering last year’s total, which didn’t quite hit $5,000.
She wants to see more children’s participation to teach them about Terry Fox, which will be discussed at the start of the run. They will also all receive a ribbon and have the opportunity to learn from other participants, who will share their stories.
“It’s a very inspiring event. It’s great for children to be part of it,” she said.
Button said the event always needs volunteers, particularly to help at the refreshment stations, which are at the start/finish area and in Glebe Park. Volunteers must be 16 years or older. However, families are encouraged and parents/guardians can accompany volunteers younger than 16.
This year’s event includes a five- and 10-kilometre route option, which takes people counter-clockwise around Head Lake. Two times around the lake for 10 kilometres. For families with young children or those who want a shorter route, the one-kilometre route will be in Head Lake Park.
Running isn’t the only option. Walkers and cyclists are welcome to participate.
Participants are asked to bring their pledges and pledge sheets with them to the town docks. Registration and checkin for pre-registered participants for the event begins at 11 a.m. Every participant will receive a raffle ticket for prizes, which includes specific items for children. There’s no entry fee or minimum amount for pledges. Donations are welcome.
This event, Button said, is not a competition. It’s for everyone.
“If it’s your first time ever running, we want you to come out, or if you’re not a runner, we want to you to come out for the walk. We have a lot of people that come out and walk the route. It’s an incredibly scenic walk so to get out for the walk is great,” she said.
For additional questions email firstname.lastname@example.org.