Brain Cancer Patient Completes Markham-Unionville Terry Fox Run: Vows to Return in 2017

by Sammy Abdo, Centennial Journalism

What if you had one year left to live? What would you do with that time?

For Richmond Hill’s Richard Wu, it meant participating in Sunday’s Terry Fox Run.

Wu, 26, was diagnosed with brain cancer a year ago and was told by the doctors that he had two years to live.

“I don’t believe it. I still don’t,” Wu said, defiantly.  He had planned to participate in the Terry Fox Run in 2015 but treatment on his inoperable cancer prevented him from doing so. On Sunday, Wu ran 10 kilometres in the Markham-Unionville event. He plans to be back next year.  Together with his Team Foxtrot, they raised $12,000. They credit their year round training for making it easier.

The 36th annual Terry Fox Run for cancer research was held in hundreds of cities across Canada. The event celebrates the legacy of Terry Fox, a Canadian athlete who had his leg amputated because of cancer, then began his Marathon of Hope in 1980.

For Marissa Hill, the organizer at the Markham-Unionville run, the motivation for taking charge was personal.

“My stepmother had cancer, so it kind of was this moment of ‘I’ll do it for her.’”  Organizing the event for four years, she described the charity as her true “love and passion.”

Around 700 people showed up to the run, hoping to meet the local goal of raising $90,000. Those wearing red Terry Fox T-shirts had been directly affected by cancer. Each red shirt had a story behind it, and for Hill, a special story came to mind.

“Last year I saw a lady and she said ‘Marissa, I don’t know if I’ll be here next year.’ And I said ‘No I will see you’,” Hill said, with tears in her eyes. The two women had met earlier in Sunday and the cancer patient looked healthy. “Just seeing her face was such a good thing… it was amazing,” Hill said.

For Wu, he is certain he’ll be back next year, and for many more to come.

“I will continue to do this run and also I’m looking to do other types of charity as well,” he said. He plans to spend his time volunteering for those in Third World countries and fighting poverty.

Richard Wu and Marissa Hill enjoy participating in the Terry Fox Run on Sunday.

Richard Wu and Marissa Hill enjoy participating in the Terry Fox Run on Sunday.(Photo: Sammy Abdo)