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UCC Terry Fox runs raise money and awareness

Anyone connected with the Upper Canada College community knows that a spirit of generosity and giving permeates through it, and that’s quite obvious every September at the Terry Fox Community Fun Run at UCC in Forest Hill and the Terry Fox National School Run Day hosted by the school.

The first run on Sept. 14 featured 1,525 entrants, an increase of five per cent over 2013, and raised $168,000 for cancer research that day — including more than $3,600 in merchandise sales. That total is expected to rise to $200,000 by March as multiple fundraising teams have organization donation “matching” programs and holiday party fundraising events this year, plus the end of year charitable tax giving season is approaching.

Rolly Fox

Terry Fox’s dad Rolly poses with Terry Fox Foundation representative Chris Henry.

The day started with a campus visit by Rolly Fox, Terry’s dad, who greeted volunteers arriving for the early shift. Multi-talented entertainer Nicole Arbour emceed the event and Paralympic swimming champion Andrew Haley and cancer survivor Maureen Charlotte Reilly told the runners and supporters their inspiring stories. A barbecue, music from the band Celler Door and a variety of children’s activities helped keep everyone entertained.

It’s added touches like these that contribute to making the Terry Fox community run through the neighbourhood surrounding UCC the second largest in Toronto and the third largest in Ontario. The UCC-based run, which has both five- and 10-kilometre routes, has raised more than $7 million since 1981 but is still in need of assistance to keep operating at such a high level.

“We need help funding certain items to put on the event that are currently not fully donated, like police, vans, pick-up trucks, park permits, food, advertising, kid’s castles and printing,” says Chris Henry, the UCC run’s co-chair and Team Up for Terry leader. “Individuals and organizations will be recognized on the contributors’ board at the site and receive a tax receipt for the full amount.”

UCC students from the Prep and Upper Schools both took part in the Terry Fox National School Run Day on Sept. 26 to celebrate the courageous young cancer amputee’s Marathon of Hope that began in St. John’s, Nfld. on April 12, 1980 when he set out to run across Canada to raise money for cancer research. He had to end his run 143 days and 5,373 kilometres later near Thunder Bay, Ont. after his cancer returned and spread to his lungs.

Terry Fox Foundation school ambassador Jackie Gillis spoke to all of the UCC students who assembled on the Prep field before the run and showed them a replica of Fox’s prosthetic leg.

“The designer of the prosthetic said that it was designed just to walk, not to run, and even then just walking would take two times more energy than to walk on two able legs,” she said, explaining that few people took Fox seriously when he announced his intention to run the equivalent of a 42-kilometre marathon every day.

“This year in Ontario, more than 4,000 schools will host a Terry Fox Run and fundraise in his name along with you,” Gillis told the students. “Runs happen across Canada, with over 9,300 school runs happening nationwide.

“But on top of that, the run and Terry’s message have gone global. There are over 5,000 runs held in 28 countries worldwide. Terry’s goal of outrunning cancer has been embraced by the world, and it’s clear that it still holds the same relevancy as it did 34 years ago.”

Forty per cent of Canadians are expected to develop some type of cancer in their lifetime, so finding a cure for all cancers is just as important now as it was when Fox began his campaign.

After Gillis’ presentation, boys in Senior Kindergarten through Grade 2 walked and ran around the school grounds for their mini-Marathon of Hope while older students followed a supervised route along the nearby Belt Line trail to Bathurst Street and back. A barbecue lunch followed the run.

Donations to support cancer research were welcomed and encouraged. Pledge forms were made available to students at the beginning of September and students are asked to submit the donations they collected via a cheque made out to The Terry Fox Run. Boys should give their pledge forms and money to their form teacher/adviser by no later than Oct. 3.

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