They are a group of individuals who come together with a common goal – to finish a dream one young British Columbian tried to accomplish more than 30 years ago.
After having his right leg amputated above the knee due to cancer in 1977, Terry Fox saw the suffering of other cancer patients and decided to run across the country to raise money and awareness for cancer research.
Starting in St. John’s, N.L., in 1980, Fox ran a marathon (42.2 kilometres) a day for 143 days before the cancer returned, forcing him to stop in Thunder Bay, Ont.
Fox, 22, died June 28, 1981.
Since his death, the Terry Fox Run has kept the dream alive, raising more than $600 million worldwide in the fight against cancer.
On Sunday (Sept 16), Nanaimo residents join their counterparts around world for the 32nd annual Terry Fox Run at the Nanaimo Aquatic Centre.
Registration opens at 9 a.m. with the run at 10 a.m.
“Cancer affects us all,” said Chris Barfoot, city recreation coordinator and run organizer. “Every runner and volunteer has a personal reason for coming out, but when they get together, it becomes one big family.”
The Nanaimo run has raised more than $200,000 for cancer research over the years. Participants have a choice of two-, five- or 10-kilomtere routes leaving the aquatic centre and heading along Wakesiah Avenue toward Colliery Dam Park.
“We’ve averaged about 150 to 200 people each year for the last four years and we’d like to see those numbers grow,” said Barfoot. “It’s a positive event dealing with a tragic subject yet here we are, still running for Terry. It’s hard not to get caught up in the emotion of what he tried to accomplish.”
Post-run events include face painting, balloon animals, temporary tattoos, entertainment and massages.
Close to 40 volunteers are needed to put the run on, but Barfoot said getting help is never a problem.
“The closer we get to the event I get phone calls from people who have volunteered in the past and want to help again,” he said. “The minute you ask, people are there to help.”
For more information on the run, please call 250-756-5200.
For more information on the Terry Fox Foundation, please go to www.terryfox.org.