by Adrian MacNair
The annual Terry Fox Run is fast approaching, a day in which people across the country pick up the torch left by the iconic Canadian and run to raise money for cancer research.
Although June 28 marked the 31st year of his passing to cancer, Terry Fox remains a figure of enormous inspiration for his attempt to run across Canada and bring awareness to a disease that strikes roughly two of every five people.
This year, organizer Kim Richardson will be bringing the Marathon of Hope to the district of Hope.
Richardson said she has been involved in the run for the past six years and participates because most of the money raised actually goes to cancer research, and not the administration of the charity itself.
“I’m also involved because it’s a good community event. It’s a nice way to bring community people together for a common cause. And, of course, we’ve all been touched by cancer,” she said.
The run starts at the Hope Recreation Centre and goes along Kawkawa Road to the lake, a roughly five kilometre route. Although not strictly wheelchair accessible, Richardson said it’s possible if the participant alters his or her route slightly. Don’t worry if you can’t run either, as most people actually jog or walk the route.
Although organizers are asking that dogs not be brought along, children in strollers or riding bicycles is fine.
Richardson said Hope typically sees between 30 and 40 runners bringing in about $1,500 for cancer research each year, though their banner year was in 2005 on the 25th Anniversary of the run when they had a turnout of 50 people. The run is led by Charlotte Rawlinson, a fitness instructor at the Rec Centre who will leave with a group, but Richardson said people are free to go at their own pace and a time of their own choosing.
Although Terry Fox passed away many years before some of the young people participating in the event were even born, Richardson says the message still resonates strongly.
“It seems to be growing. And my hat goes off to the schools. Because there’s not just the Terry Fox community run, there’s also the school run,” she said, adding her granddaughters, aged seven and six, have both learned about Fox in school and are excited to participate.
In Harrison Hot Springs, first-time volunteer Virginia Scarff is organizing the run after it was cancelled last year due to a family emergency by the organizer. That disappointment spurred Scarff to action.
Although she’s not sure what the turnout will be like, she’s hoping for a strong response from the community.
For now, she’s still looking for donations or vendors in the community to put together a pancake breakfast or barbecue that might draw more people out.
The run itself begins at Harrison Plaza, heads down Lillooet Avenue to Eagle Street, continues along McCombs Drive, turning on Emerald Avenue, before returning along Hot Springs Road to the plaza. One circuit is five kilometres or you can do it twice for the 10 kilometre commitment.
Scarff, who has a spinal cord injury, says the route is wheelchair accessible and the roads are flat and level.
Scarff said it’s sad that Betty Fox, Terry’s mother, passed away last June, as she was one of the biggest supporters of the run and keeping her son’s legacy going in the minds of young people today.
“I think it’s just a matter of telling people who he was or showing people videos of what he accomplished and trying to give that inspiration to everybody,” she said.
The 32nd annual Terry Fox Run will be held across Canada on Sunday, Sept. 16. People interested in participating can go to terryfox.org to find information about pledges and local runs. To contact Richardson, call 604-869-2304 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. To contact Scarff, call 604-491-0996 or email email@example.com.