The presence of a very special person’s absence will be felt acutely by many that participate in the 31st Annual Terry Fox Run this Sunday.
Terry Fox’s mother, Betty Fox, passed away in June after a long illness. For the past 30 years she has been a tireless champion for the Marathon of Hope; a journey that began with her son’s courageous battle against cancer and his ensuing legacy.
“2011 will mark the first year since 1981 that Betty Fox has not participated, organized or been an honoured guest at a Terry Fox Run somewhere in Canada,” said Gordon Mattson, Trail’s Terry Fox Run organizer.
Her remarkable, unassuming B.C. family has kept Terry’s dream alive and in the process has vaulted Canada to a position of world leadership in cancer research through the Terry Fox Foundation.
The foundation has been so successful that it has generated over $500 million in funds to support cancer research across Canada.
“Terry’s dream was to remove the fear that cancer patients endure, fear of treatment and fear of death,” added Mattson.
His legacy inspires countless Canadians to participate in their own way in the Marathon of Hope.
Fox created this legacy by running over 5,000 kilometres in 143 days but Canadians were stunned when on Sept. 1, 1980 near Thunder Bay, Fox was forced to stop running because cancer had appeared in his lungs.
He referred to that day as, ‘The day he had to stop running and Canadians had to start.’
Hundreds of Terry Fox Runs now occur worldwide supported by Canadian embassies and armed forces bases and by other countries that wish to develop their own cancer research capabilities.
The 31st annual Trail Terry Fox Run goes Sunday at Gyro Park and Trail City Council has been inspired to proclaim Terry Fox Sunday as “Terry Fox Day” in Trail.
The honourary starter of this year’s event will be Citizen of the Year, Laurie Ingersole. Laurie is just one of many who has participated in every Terry Fox Run since 1981.
Participants can register from 9 a.m. to noon to accommodate schedules and are reminded that it is a non-competitive event. People can run, walk, bike, rollerblade or wheelchair two, five or 10 kilometers along the scenic Columbia River route.
Refreshments will be available in the gazebo. The regional firefighters, who have been perennial Terry Fox supporters, will re-engage their annual tug-o-war rivalry at 9:30 am, this time against a team from 44th Engineer Squadron, 39th Combat Engineer Regiment.
A group start will go at 10 a.m. led by the RCMP and Trail Firefighters
The Trail Smoke Eaters are also attending and have lots of Terry Fox tattoos for all the children. The Smokies challenge all kids, no matter how many, to a tug-o-war at the park.
The Kiwanis will be cooking up their famous pancake breakfast in the parking lot at a bargain of only $4 with all proceeds going to the Terry Fox Foundation.
As Terry Fox once said, “If you’ve given a dollar, you are part of the Marathon of Hope.”