Terry Fox Run events set for Strait re­gion

An­nual fundraiser ben­e­fits can­cer re­search

The Casket - - WHEELS - COREY LEBLANC coreyle­blanc@the­cas­ket.ca

It was a meet­ing along the road­side out­side Heather­ton, Antigo­nish County that took place al­most 40 years ago – chron­i­cled in this news­pa­per, in­clud­ing a pho­to­graph that has be­come one of the most iconic in our his­tory.

With the widest of smiles, Terry Fox shakes hands with Blaise Cameron, the then Cas­ket sales man­ager, who was mak­ing a do­na­tion to the young ath­lete’s Marathon of Hope.

“Dad thought it was an in­cred­i­ble feat,” Sean Cameron said of his late fa­ther’s thoughts af­ter meet­ing Fox.

Blaise, who had served as pres­i­dent of the Antigo­nish Track Club, knew tack­ling a marathon would be chal­leng­ing for any­one, let alone some­one with one leg, who was also em­bark­ing on the chal­lenge day-af­ter day.

Four years ear­lier, Fox lost his right leg to can­cer – a fi­bre­glass and steel ar­ti­fi­cial limb in its place, one that he dipped into the At­lantic Ocean in New­found­land to start his jour­ney.

“It was a great mem­ory for him,” Sean added of the en­counter.

He re­minded that when his fa­ther and Cas­ket col­league Terry Macpher­son met him, be­fore Fox trav­elled along High­way #7 through Sher­brooke on his cross-coun­try trek, the fundraiser in sup­port of can­cer re­search was in its in­fancy – both ge­o­graph­i­cally and in terms of no­to­ri­ety.

By the time Fox reached north­ern On­tario, just out­side Thun­der Bay – 143 days and more than 3,339 miles af­ter his ef­fort be­gan, the 22-year-old was bat­tling – more and more – chest pain and cough­ing.

A hos­pi­tal stay con­firmed the can­cer – now in his lungs – had re­turned.

Nev­er­the­less, a dogged Fox pledged the Marathon of Hope would con­tinue, once his health al­lowed, but that did not hap­pen.

Af­ter a 10-month bat­tle, one month shy of his 23rd birth­day, the now Cana­dian hero died June 28, 1981.

The legacy

“Even if I don’t fin­ish, we need oth­ers to con­tinue. It’s got to keep go­ing with­out me,” Fox said.

Peo­ple across Canada and around the world have done just that with their sup­port of and par­tic­i­pa­tion in the an­nual Terry Fox Run.

Since the in­au­gu­ral event in Septem­ber 1980, just a few months af­ter Fox’s pass­ing, more than 300,000 peo­ple across the coun­try turned out to help raise more than $3.5 mil­lion.

With the 38th run on the horizon in count­less com­mu­ni­ties across Canada and around the world, the fundraiser glob­ally, to date, has amassed more than $750 mil­lion.

“It is for such a great cause,” the younger Cameron said, not­ing the “in­no­va­tive can­cer re­search” funded by the event.

He, along with Kath­leen Gough, Deb­bie Beaton and Frank Luke­man, are or­ga­niz­ing the Antigo­nish run, with as­sis­tance from St. F.X. student Erin Cor­bett.

“We want to ease the stress of rais­ing a lot of money,” Gough said, not­ing the group wants the fo­cus to be on par­tic­i­pa­tion.

Peo­ple can make a pledge – any amount is mean­ing­ful – when they come to reg­is­ter.

Reg­is­tra­tion for the Antigo­nish run gets un­der­way at 10 a.m., with an 11 a.m. start time.

The 5k route, which can be nav­i­gated on foot or wheels, is a round trip from Colum­bus Field to the Antigo­nish Land­ing.

Last year, al­most 100 peo­ple turned out, in­clud­ing mem­bers of the St. F.X. cross coun­try team, and gar­nered more than $1,000.

“It is a great fam­ily event,” Beaton said, agree­ing ‘the more the mer­rier,’ when it comes to par­tic­i­pa­tion.

For more in­for­ma­tion about the Antigo­nish event, in­clud­ing how to vol­un­teer, visit their Face­book page.

‘Sense of com­mu­nity’

That ‘great fam­ily event’ sen­ti­ment is one shared by Sarah Boudreau, who has spear­headed the or­ga­ni­za­tion of the Port Hawkes­bury run for al­most 10 years.

“I stopped count­ing,” she said, with a laugh, while re­flect­ing on her time with the fundraiser.

Shortly af­ter her and her hus­band, Trevor, moved to Port Hawkes­bury, they de­cided to par­tic­i­pate in the 2008 fundraiser.

“It was a last minute de­ci­sion,” she re­called of that first fall in her new com­mu­nity.

The cou­ple joined one other per­son for the event, which was ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a lull af­ter be­ing held every year since the in­au­gu­ral run.

In 2009, Boudreau, who was on ma­ter­nity leave af­ter hav­ing her son, Luke, heard about the need for an or­ga­nizer on the ra­dio.

“I thought I would have the time and I de­cided I wanted to do some­thing for the com­mu­nity,” she said.

The an­nual gath­er­ing now at­tracts more than 80 peo­ple, with num­bers hav­ing reached 120 to 130 on a few oc­ca­sions.

Boudreau noted the num­bers are “very much weather de­pen­dent.”

“We have 20 or so peo­ple, who come each year, and there are al­ways some new faces, which is great,” she added.

Last year, as part of its evo­lu­tion, or­ga­niz­ers moved the Strait area run from the Port Hawkes­bury Civic Cen­tre to the neigh­bour­ing com­mu­nity trails.

“We wanted to do some­thing a lit­tle bit dif­fer­ent,” Boudreau said, not­ing the new lo­ca­tion, with its pop­u­lar five-kilo­me­tre route, was a “huge hit.”

She added there is al­ways room for par­tic­i­pants and vol­un­teers.

“Come out and bring a friend,” Boudreau said.

She re­minded that the event is not just for run­ners – it is some­thing for peo­ple of all ages and abil­i­ties.

“There is such a great sense of com­mu­nity and sense of re­flec­tion [on the trails],” Boudreau said, re­call­ing the feed­back she re­ceived last year.

Reg­is­tra­tion for the Port Hawkes­bury run gets un­der­way at noon, with a 1 p.m. start time.

The one, five and 10k routes, which can be nav­i­gated on foot or wheels, are part of the Port Hawkes­bury Com­mu­nity Park trail sys­tem.

For more in­for­ma­tion, call Boudreau at 902-625-5405.

More lo­ca­tions

Along with Antigo­nish and Port Hawkes­bury, there are runs sched­uled for three other Strait area com­mu­ni­ties.

In Mar­ga­ree Forks, at 2 p.m., par­tic­i­pants will gather at the Coady Tomp­kins Li­brary, where they can nav­i­gate a five or 10k route.

In St. Peter’s-samp­sonville, at 1 p.m., the Ge­orge Robert­son Recre­ation Com­plex will serve as the start point for a one, two or five-kilo­me­tre trek.

In Up­per South River, Antigo­nish County, Leo Dug­gan and his fam­ily will, once again, host an event at their home, where par­tic­i­pants can head out on a 10k route.

Reg­is­tra­tion for the 10 a.m. run will start at 9:30 a.m.

For more in­for­ma­tion about the Terry Fox Foun­da­tion, in­clud­ing how to make a do­na­tion to the Terry Fox Run, visit ter­ry­fox.org

Con­trib­uted

There was a strong turnout for the 2017 Terry Fox Run in Port Hawkes­bury.

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