Fox run close to many
Annual Terry Fox Run this Sunday along the Barrie lakeshore; local event has raised $2M
Mike McDougall wears his red Terry Fox shirt proudly.
The newly crowned president of the Barrie Terry Fox Run, held in memory of the young Canadian’s death to cancer in 1981, will be standing with dozens of people dressed in red when the walk begins Sunday morning.
“Everybody in a red shirt goes to the front of the line; they’re either cancer survivors or going through cancer treatment,” McDougall said on Wednesday.
Diagnosed with lymphoma two years ago, he said he is feeling well enough to organize the Terry Fox Run this year, in memory of his mother and sister, who both died of cancer.
“My entire family died of cancer. I did not expect to still be here,” he said.
McDougall began volunteering as the run’s food and beverage helper a few years ago and now expects to run Barrie’s walk along the lakeshore on Sunday.
Although the City of Barrie has completed most of the work near Centennial Beach, a portion of the waterfront is still under construction, said city engineer Leonard Borgdorff.
The winter ice rink, a basketball court, grassy area and Tiffin Boat Launch parking will be completed by the end of November, he said.
“But there is definitely pedestrian access around the area for the Terry Fox Run,” Borgdorff said.
In its 37th year, Barrie’s Terry Fox Run honours the British Columbia native who ran 42 kilometres a day – for 143 days – on a prosthetic limb to raise money for cancer research.
In 1980, Fox began his Marathon of Hope in St. John’s, N.L., and only stopped after running 5,373 kms (or 3,339 miles) near Thunder Bay due to shortness of breath.
The cancer that had taken his leg had spread to his lungs.
Fox died the following summer on June 28, 1981. He was 22.
As Barrie’s former run president, Patrick Scott says there are no prizes for finishing the run first.
“It’s not a race, you’re not being timed. We’ve done everything we can to make sure everybody who wants to can participate,” Scott said.
Although the five-km or 10-km run begins at 9 a.m., it doesn’t end until the last walker crosses the finish line, which is usually Debbie Roblin, who walks with an assistive-leg device.
Barrie’s race usually raises approximately $100,000 each year, totalling $2 million during the last almost 40 years.
Will Dwyer, 92, is responsible for almost $800,000 of that.
Dwyer has reached into many Barrie residents’ wallets during the past 37 years and says he hopes to collect $1 million for the run before he dies.
“I’m just trying to help people with cancer and trying to prevent people from getting cancer,” he said.
As of Wednesday, Dwyer said he has collected $36,000 for this year’s walk, and will continue up until the walk finishes Sunday afternoon.
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Mike McDougall holds a picture of his mother and sister, who both lost their battles with cancer. McDougall, who is also a cancer survivor, is now president of the Barrie Terry Fox Run committee. It takes place Sunday.
Mike McDougall holds a picture of his mother and sister, who both lost their battles with cancer. McDougall, who is also a cancer survivor, is now president of the Barrie Terry Fox Run committee.