Scarborough’s Cedar Brook Park: one of longest running Canadian Terry Fox events

Janet and Paul Ainslie at Cedar Brook Park annual Terry Fox Run, September 2016. (Melissa Stephenson photo)

Janet and Paul Ainslie at Cedar Brook Park annual Terry Fox Run, September 2016. (Melissa Stephenson photo)

Melissa Stephenson, Centennial Journalism

“Terry Fox was a real Canadian hero,” said Barbara Brown, who lost her mother to colon cancer at 68.

She was among the 288 participants who wore the names of their loved ones on their backs. Brown and the others gathered at Cedar Brook Park on Sunday morning to run, walk, and bike in the park’s annual Terry Fox Run. ,

“(To be like Terry means to) be strong, persevere, have courage and don’t give up in the face of adversity,” said Brown, who alongside her neighbour, Helen Ainslie, has been participating in the Terry Fox Run for three years.

This year, Brown walked about two kilometres. She has donated $20 to cancer research every year. Brown said she was happy to be a part of the cause and be able to keep up Fox’s spirit and message, which she believes is very important. She plans to participate again next year.

September 18th marks the 36th annual Terry Fox Run nationwide. To raise money for cancer research, Fox decided to run across Canada to raise awareness for cancer research, after losing his right leg to a tumour in his knee. On April 12, 1980 Fox started his Marathon of Hope. He planned to run from St. John’s, Newfoundland to Vancouver. Unfortunately, on September 1, 1980 his marathon ended in Thunder Bay, Ontario when his cancer came back. He died in 1981. From then on, people all over Canada have been keeping his legacy alive. Fox’s goal was to raise $1 from every Canadian. To date, approximately $700 million has been raised for cancer research. Over 9,000 communities in Canada participate in the run.

“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.

“Terry is hope, courage, dreams, making a difference and helping people you may never meet but knowing you are doing great things, and to us it’s just something huge to remember throughout life,” Janet said.

Janet Ainslie and her husband, local city councillor Paul Ainslie have been organizing the Terry Fox Run at Cedar Brook Park for three years. They continued to run the event after the former organizer stepped down because they believe it is an important community run for an important cause. Janet spoke to Centennial Journalism’s Melissa Stephenson about the importance of having the run in Scarborough and how Terry Fox inspires her, and what his Marathon of Hope means to her.