Terry Fox Run another success

Heather Latter

Cold and rainy conditions Sunday afternoon didn’t stop more than 80 people, plus 27 volunteers, from participating in the annual Terry Fox Run here.
The event, commemorating the 31st anniversary of the “Marathon of Hope,” began at the Sorting Gap Marina, with runners and walkers—young and old alike—heading to Seven Oaks and back.
The local run ended up raising $9,176.91 for the Terry Fox Foundation, which supports cancer research.
“I know the weather didn’t co-operate but we had a great turnout regardless,” said Cheryle Wolff, who, with the congregation of the Church of the Holy Spirit, took on organizing the local Terry Fox Run for the second year.
“I was sure we would have very few due to the rain so I was very pleased to see lots of people out,” added Wolff, though indicating participation was down a little bit from last year, likely because of the weather.
“I think if we had had a sunny day, we would have had more people than last year,” she remarked.
“I know there were more people who had planned to come but didn’t make it out.”
Still, Wolff hopes people remember that Terry Fox, while running the “Marathon of Hope” in 1980, did so rain or shine.
“He didn’t stop because of the weather,” she stressed.
In the meantime, Wolff said the participants in this year’s event brought a great energy to the run.
“They showed up with plenty of enthusiasm—and even ended with upbeat attitudes despite being soaking wet,” she enthused, noting the group cheered on participants as they finished the run.
“If you put fun into it, it doesn’t matter that it was raining,” she reasoned.
Children received a loot bag and a medal while the female participants took home a red carnation in memory of Betty Fox, Terry’s mother, a driving force behind the Terry Fox Foundation over the years who passed away in June.
The event saw a strong rebound last year when the church took over organizing the run, with an increase from 24 registered participants raising $1,307 for cancer research in 2009 to 98 registered participants raising $11,528.23 last September.
“We hope to keep the momentum going,” Wolff stressed, adding the Church of the Holy Spirit will continue to host the event.
She also said they hope to make the local Terry Fox Run a district event, instead of just a Fort Frances one.
“We’re hoping in the next few years we will see more people getting involved from the surrounding communities,” Wolff remarked, noting the Fort Frances event is the only one in the district.
“We’d also like to see more families come out and participate. And, of course, we’d like to have sunshine,” she chuckled.
 “Weather can play a big part of it.”
Wolff said she knows there is a National School Run Day, which is Sept. 28 this year, that many of the local schools participate in.
“But that’s just for the kids,” she reasoned. “There’s no reason the parents couldn’t come out and bring the kids for this one, as well.”
“It really is for a good cause,” Wolff continued, citing some recent breakthroughs regarding cancer research thanks largely to funds from the Terry Fox Foundation.
Dr. John Bell of Ottawa, who has received $9 million in funding from the Foundation over the past decade, has developed a virus that’s showing promise as a new way of attacking and shrinking cancer tumours while leaving healthy tissue alone.
While it’s early days in the still-experimental field of therapeutic cancer viruses, called oncolytic viruses, it shows what contributions to the Terry Fox Run can achieve.
“Cancer is a huge concern in our area,” said Jane Trivers, a member of the Church of the Holy Spirit.
“Everyone’s been touched—and every age: parents, children, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.”
“The Church of the Holy Spirit is proud to put [the Terry Fox Run] on again this year, and thanks to each and every one of you for all your participation and support,” Dick Trivers said at the lunch at the Métis Hall following the run hosted by the Devlin T.O.P.S. group.
The top fundraisers also were honoured at that time, who included George Walsh (top male), Val Calder (top female), and Samantha Halliday (top child).
“We did really well,” Wolff said. “We’re looking forward to doing in again next year.”
In related news, some T-shirts still are available for anyone who may be interested in purchasing one for the school Terry Fox Run next Wednesday.
Call Wolff at 274-7074 if you’d like one.