The annual Terry Fox Run “runs” in the family for Terry Fox, whose famous nephew with whom he shares a name has inspired the annual Terry Fox Run for the past 37 years.
“I wouldn’t dare miss one,” said Fox, the uncle, who has been living in Lethbridge since 1977 and has been an integral part of the annual fundraising and awareness run in a fundraising and organizational capacity since its inception. This year’s Terry Fox run will be held Sunday, Sept. 17 at noon at the Kiwanis Picnic Centre in Henderson Park.
Terry Fox’s story is both inspiring and legendary. On April 12, 1980, Fox, in spite of a prosthetic leg as a result of his own cancer battle, began the Marathon of Hope, a run across Canada to raise money for cancer research. He covered 5,300 kilometres (3,339 miles) over 143 days before cancer returned and forced Terry to stop running on Sept. 1, 1980. He died on June 28, 1981. In addition to helping organize the run, Fox’s Uncle Terry also speaks at local schools about the run and about his famous nephew.
“I wasn’t surprised he’d do it. People always called him stubborn, but I called him determined,” Fox reminisced.
“When he was diagnosed they didn’t have room for him in the adult ward, so they moved him to the kids’ ward. He was 17, 18 years old and feeling sorry for himself until he met these kids and he stopped feeling sorry for himself. He was upset there was no funding for them,” he said.
“So he decided to run across Canada for cancer research. They’d moved to Prince George and his mom told him to just run across B.C. He said he was going to run across Canada,” Fox related, noting the run has made a difference.
“When Terry was diagnosed with bone cancer, there was a 20 per cent chance of survival, and the only way to treat it was to take the leg or arm. They removed his leg, but unfortunately it had spread,” he said.
“Now there is an 80 per cent of survival and there is medicine,” said Fox, who can speak from experience as he is also a cancer survivor.
Fox noted he aways tries to beat his previous fundraising goal.
“My record is $395. There are a lot of things to donate to, so a lot of my pledges are $5 or $10,” he said, adding every little bit helps.
“There are a lot of runs, but Terry started it all,” he said.
“In a few years, I may not be able to do the run any more. So I dare not miss one,” he said.
Evelyn Moman has enjoyed organizing the Lethbridge Terry Fox run for the past three years.
“It’s a horrific disease, which has affected friends and family of almost everybody,” Moman said, noting people appreciate the fact that 84 cents of every dollar earned goes directly to cancer research.
She noted in addition to knowing the money raised goes to a good cause, she got to meet Terry Fox’s father, Rolly Fox, who passed away last year.
“But I got to spend some time with him,” she said, adding she is pleased to be part of an event which has raised $750 million since starting in 1980.
“The Terry Fox Run is in 7,000 communities in 25 countries. His dream was huge,“ she continued, adding her husband also had cancer, which gives her a personal connection to the Terry Fox Run.
Breast cancer survivor Mary Newbert is pleased to participate in the Terry Fox Run.
“I just want to pay it forward,” she said, noting the Royal Bank of Canada she works at is also hosting bake sales and popcorn sales as fun ways to encourage donations.
“Terry Fox was a young man with a dream who saw cancer research was underfunded so he started the Marathon of Hope, ”Newbert noted.
“It will take all of us standing shoulder to shoulder to make Terry Fox’s dream a reality,” said Newbert, who was diagnosed with cancer in 2005 and pronounced clear in 2010.
Moman noted last year 300 people participated in the run while 275 participated the year before.
“We’d like to get 300 again this year. But I’d love to have 400. We do financial institution challenges and encourage other businesses to do the same,” Moman said, adding she gets her family involved with the event as well.
“It’s a ‘volentold’ event for my three kids because they get told to volunteer,” Moman laughed, noting she has been involved with the run since 1988.
“There’s no corporate sponsor. It’s all volunteer run,” she continued.
“It’s people like Mary who make it work. It‘s that drive inside that says you can’t do it all by yourself,“ she said.
“It’s a family event. It’s nice to get everyone together to remember Terry and everything he did,” she continued.
In addition to the run, there will be a hotdog barbecue, live music and a short talk from MLA Maria Fitzpatrick.
“It’s been 37 years in Lethbridge. It’s so the next generation of people are aware of cancer,” Moman said.
Registration for the run is at 11 a.m., and the run itself goes from noon to 2 p.m. at the Kiwanis picnic shelter in Henderson Park.