Terry Fox Run tops $9,000

FORT FRANCES—Despite the gloomy skies, spirits were high as more than 70 people participated in the 26th-annual Terry Fox “Marathon of Hope” here Sunday afternoon—raising at least $9,000 for cancer research.
“Although it was a smaller group, you could say it was a mightier group because the per participant contributions were far higher this year,” co-ordinator Maureen Fitzpatrick said Monday.
“We’re very, very happy with what people have contributed.
“Even if people weren’t out there running, they obviously were still giving when we’ve got that amount of money coming in,” Fitzpatrick added, noting local businesses also were supportive in donating draw prizes, gift certificates, and cash to the annual event.
Last year’s Terry Fox Run here drew about 170 pledged participants and brought in about $15,000.
Fitzpatrick noted this year’s $9,000 total is preliminary but as it stands now, that equals more than one dollar for each resident of Fort Frances.
“We’re still counting—there’s still merchandise money coming in and more money from the special events [like Ed Katona, who had biked to Thunder Bay],” she said.
“All in all, we’re more than thrilled with the outcome.”
She estimated the final total should be at least $10,000.
Fitzpatrick also noted about 40 volunteers helped once again to make the Terry Fox Run a success here—doing everything from accepting registrations to handing out water to thirsty participants.
“There isn’t one person that can take credit for organizing or co-ordinating all of this because there is not a chance one person can do all this,” she stressed.
“Every volunteer that was there contributed a significant part of their time and effort. It was right across the board,” added Fitzpatrick.
“From my experience with the Fort Frances Volunteer Bureau, I can tell you volunteerism is alive and well in the Town of Fort Frances.”
(The Terry Fox Run is planned out by a committee and co-ordinated by the local Volunteer Bureau, with its main sponsor this year being Community Living Fort Frances and District).
Long-time Terry Fox Run participant and top pledge-getter Marj Katerick once again reached her goal of raising funds equal to the current year—in this case $2,006.
But like many of the participants out Sunday, Katerick stressed the annual event is equally important to raising money for cancer research as it is keeping Terry Fox’s spirit alive.
She recalled the day when Fox had reached Thunder Bay and announced his cancer had spread to his lungs, bringing his “Marathon of Hope” to an end.
“I felt such compassion for this young man, whom I had never met, and thought to myself, ‘At some time and point, I will try to help you accomplish what you have set out to do,’” Katerick said.
Two years later, she collected pledges for her first Terry Fox Run—and before she knew it, she decided she would try to collect one dollar for every year.
She also set a personal goal of $10,000 to be achieved over several years—a goal she has since exceeded by $6,686.
Katerick also did research to find out where the money collected for the Terry Fox Run goes each year.
According to the Terry Fox Foundation, out of every dollar received, only three cents goes to administration, 10 cents goes to fundraising costs, and the remaining 87 percent goes to cancer research.
“Pretty impressive,” Katerick remarked, adding the Terry Fox Foundation says advances are being made with anti-cancer therapies.
This cancer research is “bringing us ever closer to Terry Fox’s dream come true,” continued Katerick. “A single dream, a world of hope, as his legacy carries on.
“Terry Fox—a hero in my time.”
Josie Patrick, another participant in this year’s “Marathon of Hope,” echoed Katerick’s sentiments.
“It’s a fantastic cause. Every time I’m out there walking, I’m walking for Terry,” she enthused.
“He didn’t do it for himself, he did it for everyone,” added Patrick. “He was a phenomenal young man.”
Die-hard volunteer Shirley Dolph, who’s helped out with the Terry Fox Run for several years now, took a break this year to actually participate in it—and collected $505 in pledges for the cause.
She noted that, like so many other people who take part, the “Marathon of Hope” is special to her because she’s been personally affected by the disease—six people in her family have passed away due to cancer.
Prior to cutting the ribbon to start the run at 2 p.m., Melanie Bodnar sang the national anthem while Mayor Dan Onichuk shared a few words on the history of Terry Fox, his courageous journey, the origin of the Terry Fox Foundation, and how Fox’s spirit still carries on today.
The mayor was followed by a speech from Katerick, who explained her reasons for supporting the cause each year.
And just prior to the participants starting their 10-km trek, Jackie Lampi-Hughes of Energy Fitness Centre got their hearts pumping with a series of warm-up exercises.
As in past years, participants walked, ran, jogged, and biked down Central Avenue to Second Street East, turned on Victoria Avenue, and followed the La Verendrye Parkway to Pither’s Point.
They then turned around and returned to the Volunteer Bureau for a free barbecue.
There also were draws for prizes donated by local businesses, as well as Terry Fox T-shirts and sweatshirts for sale. Fitzpatrick noted this merchandise will remain on sale at the Volunteer Bureau for another week or so.
And as mentioned above, Fort Frances resident Ed Katona and former Stratton resident Arne Johnsrud biked to Thunder Bay once again to raise funds for cancer research.
The duo left here Friday morning and were scheduled to be back in town Tuesday.
In the past, Katona also has biked to Winnipeg, Duluth, and Minneapolis, as well as to Kenora, Dryden, and then back to Fort Frances in one trip.