Port Coquitlam, September 19: For the first time since 2019, crowds gathered in Terry Fox’s hometown of Port Coquitlam for the 42nd annual run in his name to raise funds for cancer research.
Over the last two years of the pandemic, the Terry Fox run was held virtually. His older brother Fred – who joined the dozens of runners, cyclists, and others taking part outside the Hyde Creek Recreation Centre Sunday morning – said despite having to do things differently in recent years, people remained committed to the cause.
“Terry Foxers across Canada have that same perseverance that Terry had, and they found new ways to be engaged,” he said. “Terry, I think, shows us at his young age that anything is possible if you try, and he was a great example for young kids, new generations.”
According to the Terry Fox Foundation, more than $850 million has been raised to date. This year, the foundation estimated about four million Canadians and about 600 communities would be taking part in person, either with their community or through a school.
Fox’s brother said it’s amazing to be back in person.
“It’s always been a big draw here to come to Terry’s hometown,” he said. “I’m bringing my family, my three grown children, my three grandchildren. They’ve never participated in the Terry Fox run here, not for many years anyway, so it’s great to be back.”
Run organizer and speaker Erin Danielle said there’s something “magical” about the energy when everyone gets together for the run.
“Terry’s dream was a world without cancer, and that dream is only possible when we do things like this,” she said. “Part of the story that I tell children when I go to the schools is that Terry’s taught us never to give up and to always try, and that can go for any experience in their life.”
Danielle said she is also five years cancer-free as of Sunday’s run, following a diagnosis of Stage 3 breast cancer in 2016.
“The day I was diagnosed, I told my son – who was eight at the time – that, ‘Jackson, Momma has cancer.’ And he said to me, ‘Oh, like Terry Fox,’” she said. “It was a really cool thing to see that he could look at that situation as a chance for his mom to be a hero just like Terry Fox.”
Terry Fox’s Marathon of Hope began in 1980. He set out on a cross-Canada run to raise funds for cancer research after losing his leg to cancer at 18 years old. During the run, Fox completed an average of 42 kilometres a day, or the equivalent of a full marathon. He travelled 5,373 kilometres from Newfoundland to Ontario before his illness forced him to stop. Fox passed away at the age of 22 in 1981.
The school run in his name will take place on Sept. 23, with close to 10,000 schools taking part.