While the number of participants in this year’s Terry Fox Run may have been down, the Canadian icon’s legacy of hope lives on in their hearts.
The 26th-annual fundraiser for cancer research here Sunday afternoon saw 45 dedicated women and men of all ages raise more than $3,000.
“The numbers were down,” noted lead organizer Judy Koski of the Fort Frances Volunteer Bureau.
“However, when I called the Terry Fox Foundation with the numbers, they said that was a trend all over this year.”
Koski added she’s sure the weather was a factor here Sunday.
“I’d certainly understand if some people didn’t come out because it was too warm out. It was so very, very hot,” she recalled.
“Those runners came back and were profusely sweating,” she remarked. “I give them credit for doing that.
“But it was great event,” Koski enthused. “I was really happy with the people that showed up and supported the Terry Fox Run this year, and we’ll do it again next year.”
The annual event’s continued support also speaks to the reality that so many people’s lives have been touched by cancer–with that number seeming to increase year after year.
This year’s top fundraiser was Samantha Halliday, who raised a whopping $1,662.70 in pledges for cancer research. This included funds from Church of the Holy Spirit members who donated to Halliday instead of long-time Terry Fix run participant George Walsh, who took the year off from fundraising.
Hallliday ran in memory of her uncle, the late Robert McNay, who passed away in June, 2011, for a seventh-straight year.
“My uncle had pancreatic cancer so I raise money for him,” she told the Times.
“There’s no cure for pancreatic cancer but I feel everyone needs to have somebody to help them,” she reasoned.
Halliday’s mother, Sandra McNay, estimated her daughter has raised close to $12,000 over the past seven years.
“She’s a great gal,” Koski said of Halliday. “For such a young girl, she’s really good example of fundraising, I’m telling you.”
Gaydonna Baker of Emo, who keeps fit running and swimming, said she participates in the Terry Fox Run “because I believe in the cause.”
“And I admire Terry Fox and all that he did,” she added.
Baker participated in honour of her brother, Roger Dimit, who is a cancer survivor.
“When he got cancer, I said, ‘Okay, I’m supporting the Terry Fox Foundation every year, no matter where I have to go to do a run,'” she recalled, adding it is “a well-run organization.”
“I like Terry Fox, I support his cause,” echoed April Cormack, who walked alongside Baker.
“My grandmother had cancer and numerous other family members, so that’s why I do it,” she noted.
“It’s a worthy cause. I get out every year when I can.”
Marcia McArthur, who walked with her son, Randall, for a fifth-straight year, also has participated in Terry Fox Runs at schools over the years.
“It’s for a good cause,” she remarked. “My son, he loves the story of Terry Fox, so we come do this for him.
“And every year, we get the shirt,” McArthur added, referring to the Terry Fox commemorative T-shirt sold at the event and which is different each year.
“I am hoping to make pillows out of them because he loves them so much,” she said.
“I do it ever year. This is my first year doing it here because I am here for the summer,” said Jake Tytler, an avid runner who hails from Sault Ste. Marie but has been here working for the MNRF for the fire season.
“Everybody’s lost someone to cancer,” he reasoned.
“It’s a good cause; something that I think should keep going for years to come.”
This year’s Terry Fox Run took place along the La Verendrye Parkway.
It started at the Sorting Gap Marina, with participants walking, running, or riding east to La Verendrye Hospital and back (about one kilometre each way).
While the route was shorter than usual (it was changed due to the overpass construction to the east), some especially fit participants ran it twice.