Room for all in Marathon of Hope
Everyone can run, walk or roll this Sunday to raise money for cancer research
Don’t let the name fool you: Terry Fox runs aren’t just for those who are fleet of foot. “The routes are suitable for bikes, wheelchairs, scooters, strollers, Rollerblades — and dogs on leash are always welcome,” said Heather Cooke, who’s organizing Sunday’s event in Summerland.
The community is one of hundreds across Canada — including two others in the South Okanagan — to host such an event to raise money for the Terry Fox Foundation, which in turn funds cancer research.
Participants are encouraged to make, or collect, donations in order to participate, but it’s not required.
“In Terry’s words: ‘If you’ve given $1, you’re part of the Marathon of Hope,’” said Cooke.
This marks the 37th year of Terry Fox runs and the fourth consecutive year Cooke and her husband, Mike, have organized the Summerland event in memory of her father-in-law, who died of pancreatic cancer.
Their mission took on greater urgency this summer with the release of fresh statistics from the Canadian Cancer Society that show one out of every two people in this country will develop some form of the disease, while one in four will die because of it.
“So, in that sense, all of us are likely to have been touched by cancer, and this is the day that many of us — like my husband and I — take part to honour loved ones who have had a cancer journey and want to make a difference,” Cooke said.
Registration begins at 10:15 a.m. at the Summerland Aquatic Centre, followed by the runs — or walks or scooter rides or whatever — at 11 a.m.
Participants can choose from three distances: one, three or five kilometres.
The one-kilometre route will be led by members of the Summerland Steam, Orca Swim Club and residents of the Summerland Seniors Village.
The real VIPs, however, will be wearing red shirts to signify they’re members of Terry’s Team and have either beaten cancer or are currently battling the disease.
“They’re really the living proof that cancer research saves lives, and they’re tangible evidence that what we’re doing makes a difference,” Cooke said.
If you can’t attend Sunday but would still like to donate, you can do so by visiting www.terryfox.org or texting “terryfox” to 45678 to give $5 on your next phone bill.
Registration for the run in Penticton begins at 10 a.m. at the SS Sicamous. In Oliver, the sign-up starts at 1 p.m. in Lion’s Park.
Fox grew up in Port Coquitlam and was just 18 years old when part of his right leg was amputated due to cancer.
Three years later, he set out from St. John’s, N.L., en route to his home province with a plan to run the equivalent of a marathon each day in order to raise money for cancer research.
After logging 5,373 kilometres, he was forced to quit near Thunder Bay, Ont., when the cancer spread to his lungs. He died in 1981 at the age of 22.
Since then, runs have been organized annually across the globe to continue his Marathon of Hope.
Schools are set to do their own Terry Fox runs on Sept. 28.
Terry Fox runs along the highway in 1980 during his Marathon of Hope, which will continue Sunday with runs in hundreds of communities across Canada.