Run­ning for Terry

The Amherst News - - FRONT PAGE - By Christo­pher Good­ing

Run­ners and walk­ers will all come to­gether on Sun­day to cel­e­brate Terry Fox’s Marathon of Hope and to raise money for the fight against can­cer.

At the start of the sum­mer of 1980 few knew who Terry Fox was, but Monique Sul­li­van did.

As the iconic Cana­dian started his Marathon of Hope to very lit­tle fan­fare, Sul­li­van was glued to her ra­dio and tele­vi­sion each day lis­ten­ing for up­dates as Terry set out to travel the equiv­a­lent of one marathon every day with the aid of a pros­the­sis af­ter los­ing his leg to can­cer.

He was just 21 years old. “I re­mem­ber fol­low­ing it and I have news­pa­per clip­pings from when I was kid,” Sul­li­van said. “[That was] on my own. It was to­wards the end of the school year when he came to On­tario. It was close to Canada Day… I re­mem­ber they had to make al­ter­ations to his run so he could hit the events they wanted him to in Ot­tawa and that was when he re­ally started get­ting pop­u­lar… I sus­pect mom had some­thing to do with en­cour­ag­ing me.”

Terry set out to raise can­cer aware­ness and in the process raise $1 for every Cana­dian. It was an unimag­in­able goal, even to Terry’s own fam­ily, but as he pro­gressed through On­tario and na­tional at­ten­tion rose, it started to seem like the young man from Bri­tish Columbia would ac­com­plish his dream.

Sadly, his can­cer would oth­er­wise and his run would end in On­tario.

“I can still re­mem­ber see­ing that im­age of him, when they were putting him in the am­bu­lance. I would have been nine. Barely nine, when he did the run, but I can still re­mem­ber see­ing him on the news and that he was stop­ping,” Sul­li­van said.

That was Sept. 1, 1980. He would die less than a year later, on June 28, 1981.

His legacy was set in mo­tion, how­ever, and Sul­li­van was part of the first Terry Fox Run in 1988. To­day, the run has raised over $700 mil­lion world­wide, far sur­pass­ing Terry’s goal of $24 mil­lion, and it has done so with­out cor­po­rate spon­sor­ship. For many, it’s a way of up­hold­ing Terry’s goals and mem­o­ries, while for oth­ers the run is much more per­sonal.

“I don’t think Amherst is any dif­fer­ent than any other Mar­itime com­mu­nity. We have such a high rate of can­cer. Just look­ing at the obit­u­ar­ies on the week­end, there are quite a few peo­ple who were strong ad­vo­cates who were bat­tling for a long time,” Sul­li­van said. “One of the rea­sons I be­lieve so strongly in the Terry Fox or­ga­ni­za­tion is they have a very high rate of re­turn; very lit­tle is spent on the ad­min­is­tra­tion.”

This year’s Terry Fox Run in Amherst will be Sun­day, Sept. 17. Pledges can be col­lected in ad­vance, and par­tic­i­pants can reg­is­ter the day of the event. In­di­vid­u­als, teams, groups and or­ga­ni­za­tions can par­tic­i­pate, and there is no min­i­mum pledge or en­try fee. If peo­ple just want to come out and par­tic­i­pate, Sul­li­van says that is great, too.

Reg­is­tra­tion takes place at 9 a.m. at Dickey Park on East Pleas­ant Street. A 5km and 10 km route will be marked within the com­mu­nity par­tic­i­pants can walk, run or even bike. Par­tic­i­pants will also have the walk­ing track at the park avail­able.

For more in­for­ma­tion, visit www.ter­ry­fox.ca.

Christo­pher Good­ing/Amherst News

There are Terry Fox cham­pi­ons across Canada, and here in Amherst Monique Sul­li­van car­ries the man­tle. This year’s Terry Fox Run is Sun­day, Sept. 17.

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