Five years ago, a grieving friend who had just lost her spouse to cancer invited Susan Gapka to participate in the Terry Fox Run. That friend was Olivia Chow and her husband was Jack Layton, then leader of the federal New Democratic Party. Now, Gapka runs not only to remember her own close friends who have succumbed to the disease, but also to raise money for cancer research.
For Jordan Hill, organizer of the Ward’s Island Terry Fox Run, the event is more than just a way to commemorate Fox’s legacy. To him, the fundraiser has a more intimate meaning.
“My mom was a huge Terry Fox fan and so I grew up with Terry Fox,” said Hill. “This run is actually in her memory, she passed away from lung cancer [in] 1998, and so after we’ve done a run here on her behalf.”
Blaine Sikich was only 12 when he watched Terry Fox attempt his historic run across Canada and the tragic end that followed.
“The heartbreak of it when it ended touched the whole country,” Sikich said Sunday at the Thornhill Terry Fox Run. “I was no different, it left such an impression on me that he became a hero of mine.”
Sikich, the organizer of the Thornhill Terry Fox Run, was among the participants and volunteers who arrived early Sunday morning at Thornlea Secondary School. They are participating in the 36th annual Terry Fox Run which is held every year across Canada on the second Sunday after Labour Day.
At the age of twenty-one, Terry Wood’s brother Richard was diagnosed with cancer. It was 2001, and the Brampton woman decided to channel her emotions to help the cause and start organizing for the Terry Fox event held at the local school that bears Terry Fox’s name. Wood did eventually lose her brother to cancer, but this kept her pushing to stay involved.
“It was a terrible thing, and a very sad thing but it’s life,” Wood said Sunday at the annual Terry Fox Run at the Heart Lake location.
Each participant at the Gibson Park Terry Fox Run was given a blank sticker to wear on their shirts to indicate who they were running for. Many wrote “Terry Fox”, but three had the name “Aryo” on their stickers. Aryo, 3, has been diagnosed with leukemia, and his family and friends came out to the event in support of the little boy
Lois Brown, former Conservative MP for Newmarket – Aurora and long-time Newmarket resident, has been at the Terry Fox Run every year since it started in Newmarket. Brown spoke to Centennial Journalism’s Leonida Sheffield about why Terry Fox is a hero and what we can learn from his life.
Since Terry Fox began his Marathon of Hope in 1980, people worldwide come together for the Terry Fox Run each year to raise money for cancer research. This year, the Terry Fox Run has a very special meaning to first-time participant Kerri Moore and her teammates, The Dragons.
“We’re running for my dad who passed away in May,” said an emotional Moore Sunday at the annual Terry Fox Run in Newmarket at the Ray Twinney Recreation Complex.
Terry Fox is an iconic Canadian, he was doing the run when we were teens and he showed us leadership, he was a really good first example of leadership in the community,” said Janet Ainslie, who has been co-organizing the Terry Fox Run for three years in Cedar Brook Park with her husband, local city councillor Paul Ainslie. They are helped by 55 volunteers. The couple decided to take on the responsibility of organizing the run after the retirement of former organizer Ken Pearson, who had been in charge for 15 years. Their goal for this year is to raise between $30,000-$40,000. They hope to beat their overall amount last year of over $40,000. All proceeds from the run go to cancer research.