Nearly 40 years after Terry Fox’s Marathon of Hope, the spirit of the national hero lives on in Campbell River.
Hundreds of Campbell Riverites came out for the local edition of the annual Terry Fox Run.
“I really do feel Terry Fox’s spirit in this city,” said event co-organizer Tanya Flood.
Flood and her husband Chris have been organizing Campbell River’s Terry Fox Run for about eight years.
“Our family really believes in the values that Terry Fox presented to Canada,” said Flood. “It’s just a part of our hearts and we just feel we come together with so many volunteers from Campbell River, it just fills our hearts.”
Every member of the young family of five took part in the event, with the youngest siblings riding and running the route and the eldest sister volunteering alongside the Carihi Sports Leadership team.
The youth involvement was especially noticeable this year. Rhona Soutar, who works with the local school district, believes it’s important for kids to be involved.
“I’m really excited. This is about the biggest group I’ve seen for quite a long time,” she said. “They’re doing a wonderful job.”
The students were along the route cheering people on and greeting them at the finish.
A number of them said they were at the run in support of Jonah Shankar, a Carihi graduate who was diagnosed with a rare and life-threatening type of brain cancer.
“I think what we’re doing is great and all the money that we’re raising is fantastic,” said Grade 11 student Thomas Greze-Kozuki. “It’s great to see the community coming together.”
New statistics released this month by the Canadian Cancer Society suggest that nearly one in two Canadians will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime.
Next year will mark 40 years since Fox’s Marathon of Hope took place. Fox took off from St. John’s and ran an average of 42 km a day for 143 days. He was forced to retire early when the cancer that took his leg spread to his lungs.
Fox died in 1981, one month shy of his 23rd birthday. That fall the first Terry Fox Run was held and raised $3.5-million.
For the first time in the last few years, the local event was rain-free and participants walked, ran, rode and rolled the five-kilometre route along the Seawalk in Willow Point.
This year’s event was supported by 42 volunteers. Its 320 participants raised $8,457.50.
Greg Richardson was taking part in the Terry Fox Run for the first time.
“It’s a great cause and what better reason to give money for something than getting together with your friends and family and the community,” he said.
Last year, the Terry Fox Foundation contributed $21.8-million to more than 300 research teams in Canada.
“We have such incredible, novel treatment techniques now that we just need money to put into,” said Flood. “We need funding for that research to make it happen.
“We will find a cure,” she said. “We will live out Terry’s dream, which it a world without cancer.”
This story was updated to reflect participant and volunteer numbers as well as the total raised.