Cancer survivor keeps on Trekking for Terry
When Allison Charko was diagnosed in 2009 with breast cancer, she was thrown for a loop. But she was determined to not let the disease take over her life.
“It was really scary,” said Charko, who was 27 when diagnosed. “I was just newly married and starting a life. I just really tried to stay positive and try to find out what to do and get better quickly.”
It all started when Charko found a lump in her right breast. She was concerned and made an appointment with her doctor. Within weeks it was confirmed she had cancer. She was immediately scheduled for a lumpectomy followed by rounds of chemotherapy and radiation.
By 2011, she was feeling better and a friend encouraged her to get involved with other cancer survivors and those touched by cancer. Charko formed Trekking for Terry to participate in the annual Terry Fox Run held at the Ford Test Track that year.
“I figured I’m a survivor and I want to keep Terry’s battle alive so I asked friends and family to join and we formed Trekking for Terry,” said the Belle River woman, who will run with her husband Mark. “We got some T-shirts, walked the track and raised some money. We just want to keep Terry’s legacy alive.”
This year, in recognition of Canada’s 150th birthday, Charko is hoping to get 150 people to join Trekking for Terry and participate in the Tecumseh Terry Fox Run on Sept. 17. The event is free but Charko hopes every participant will donate at least $10.
“I just feel so grateful that I can be here to participate,” she said. “I am doing this because I can and because there are people who can’t anymore because they aren’t with us. I feel very privileged to participate in this event because I survived — I am a cancer survivor.”
Jan Wright, organizer of the Tecumseh Terry Fox Run, said having groups like Trekking for Terry participate helps grow the event. Wright has organized the Tecumseh run since 2004 and has watched it become one of the larger runs in Ontario and the only one locally. Last year, close to 1,300 participants raised $93,000.
“We come from a very generous and caring community,” Wright said.
“Cancer affects everyone and I think people like that Terry Fox foundation is for all types of cancer.”
Even though the event takes lots of work, Wright is motivated by the fact the money raised is helping to make a difference.
“I had an old sign for the course and it said ‘Children’s leukemia is 80 per cent curable,’ ” Wright said.
“It’s nice because I can’t use it anymore because children’s leukemia is now 98.9 per cent curable. It shows that these types of events are helping to make a huge impact.”
For more information go to terryfox.org or TrekkingforTerry.ca.
Allison and Mark Charko will be Trekking for Terry at the annual Terry Fox Run Sunday, Sept. 17. They are hoping to be joined by 150 teammates on race day, in honour of Canada’s sesquicentennial.