Thirty-six years after Terry Fox’s “Marathon of Hope” inspired a nation, the courageous cancer victim’s legacy lives on in annual fundraising runs held in his honour.
More than $750 million has been raised worldwide for cancer research in Fox’s name since he first set out on his cross-Canada journey that was tragically cut short by the spread of cancer that had originally claimed his right leg in 1977.
Terry Fox community run
Upper Canada College has long been a supporter of this initiative and hosted community runs. This year’s took place on Sept. 18 and attracted 1,800 participants who raised $135,000. However, fundraising continues until March and people are encouraged to continue their fundraising through the giving and tax seasons as well as through attending the “Terry Fox Friends & Family” skates at the William P. Wilder ’40 Arena & Sports Complex in December.
UCC provided the venue, primary food preparation and more than 80 student volunteers who gave out 3,000 promotional flyers in the neighbourhood and 1,500 more at the Yonge and St. Clair subway stations, and assisted with site set-up and run day positions.
Runners, walkers, bicyclists, rollerbladers and even infants pushed in strollers were invited to travel along five- or 10-kilometre routes beginning and ending on the UCC campus.
“The Terry Fox Community Fun Run, Walk, Ride at UCC in Forest Hill welcomes the community to UCC to continue Terry Fox’s legacy to find a cure for all cancers,” says chair and organizer Chris Henry. “This non-competitive and free entry event focuses on families enjoying time together, a complimentary kids fun zone and a healthy food festival.”
Devo Brown of KiSS 92.5 FM and CityNews returned for the second year to host the event, which also featured guest speakers Dylan Moscovitch, an Olympic medalist in pairs skating, and Paul Rosen, a Paralympic gold medalist in sledge hockey.
Terry Fox School Run
The Terry Fox School Run followed at UCC on Sept. 23 and involved students from the Prep and Upper Schools who were asked to collect donations.
Before their run, the boys gathered on the Prep field following an Upper School Association Day assembly in Laidlaw Hall to be addressed by Duncan Pike, the campaign coordinator for Canadian Journalists for Free Expression and a master of global affairs graduate from the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs.
When Pike was 24 years old, he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a blood cancer, and underwent six months of chemotherapy. He’s now been cancer-free for five years. Here’s Pike’s story:
“I noticed a lump in my neck after graduating from university, and mostly ignored it as a seemingly healthy young man who was focused on exploring new opportunities and living abroad for a number of months. The lump grew and became more solid and, when I finally returned home to Victoria, B.C., I was quite scared and had to face the cancer diagnosis knowing that I had stupidly ignored my symptoms for a number of months. Perhaps that time was decisive.
“I had additional tests and was told that my cancer was Hodgkin’s lymphoma and was, in fact, curable. Being able to hear that makes all the difference in the world and gave me something solid to hold on to in a time of the worst anxiety and panic and fear. I had to do 12 rounds of chemo, which was awful, but I had reasonable confidence that I would emerge entirely healthy. This was a precious gift, and it was only possible because my type of cancer had benefited from decades of research funded by initiatives like what Terry Fox inspired.
“Yet despite so much progress, there is still much left to be done. There are millions of people who do not receive the assurance from their doctor that I did when they are diagnosed. I know, and knew, many of these people, friends of mine whom I met from joining the young adult cancer community. Terry Fox ran so that others after him, like me, would be able to live cancer-free.”