Despite Sunday being marked by intermittent rain, the showers held off for the duration of the 34th-annual Terry Fox Run here.
“It was awesome,” enthused Pam Guild, who helped organize the event along with members of the congregation of the Church of the Holy Spirit.
“We had a great turnout,” she added. “Our participation level was up and so was the money raised.”
About 100 people took part in the event, raising a total of $13,230.45, including sales of T-shirts and hats.
That’s well up from last year when only 43 people brought in just over $5,000.
“We are so happy to see more people out this year,” Guild remarked.
“And lots of kids were out and lots of new faces, too,” she added.
Participants of all ages started from the Sorting Gap Marina at 2 p.m. and headed out to Seven Oaks and back for the 5K walk/run.
Beforehand, Guild’s husband, Beau, had his long locks shorn for the cause.
“I decided at the event four years ago to grow my hair so it makes sense to have it shaved off here,” he reasoned.
Then after the run, fruit, ice cream, coffee, water, and juice was available at the marina for all participants.
The past few years, organizers had prepared a full meal back at the church. This year, however, opted to have refreshments on-site.
“It’s in the middle of the afternoon so people don’t want a lot of food,” reasoned Jane Trivers, adding she had lots of positive feedback about the change.
“Having the refreshments here at the end went over really well,” agreed Guild.
“Then people could just go home when they were done.”
But as in past years, the top fundraisers were recognized.
The top male fundraiser was Ed Grandy of Toronto, who brought in $3,795, while the top female was Cheryle Wolff of Fort Frances ($535).
The top child again was Samantha Halliday of Fort Frances, who raised $1,110.75.
Grandy and his twin brother, Don, were a nice addition to this year’s event.
The pair participate in a different community each year and this year they chose Fort Frances.
The Grandys noted it started when they went on vacation and looked to see if there was a Terry Fox Run in the area where they were.
They’ve completed runs in St. Anthony, NL (2013), Sarnia (2012), Minden (2011), Gander (2010), Peggy’s Cove (2009), Charlottetown (2008), St. John’s (2007), Bathurst, N.B. (2006), and Toronto (2005 and 2004).
Ed Grandy, who missed only the 2004 event with his brother, is a sinus cancer survivor now in his ninth year of being cancer-free.
In 2005/06, he underwent seven weeks of radiation therapy and surgery.
The brothers also participate in the run in honour of their mother, aunt, and other friends.
They said they chose Fort Frances this year because they thought it would be unique due to the proximity to the U.S. border.
They seemed pleased with the local event—and were happy the clouds parted in time for the run.
“We’re very happy the rain held off,” Guild added.
“This is a very Canadian event—he’s a Canadian hero,” she said of Terry Fox, adding the run also is recognized internationally, taking place in more than 60 countries.
“It really points out how a person can make a change,” Guild remarked.
In 1980, at the age of 22, Fox had one leg amputated due to cancer. He subsequently embarked on a cross-Canada run to raise money and awareness for cancer research.
The spread of his cancer eventually forced him to end his quest just outside of Thunder Bay, and he passed away on June 28, 1981.
But Fox remains a prominent Canadian figure to this day.
“It’s important that the Terry Fox Run continues through the years in order for it to stay real,” Guild reasoned.
“He’s an international inspiration,” echoed Trivers.
The congregation of the Church of the Holy Spirit plans to continue with organizing the event for next year.
“And since it’s the 35th-annual, we are hoping it will be even bigger and better,” Guild said.
Meanwhile, many local schools will take part in the Terry Fox National School Run next Wednesday (Sept. 24).
For more information or to donate online, visit www.terryfox.org