Terry Fox Run brings the community together in Newmarket

Lois Brown poses with participants by the memory board at the Terry Fox Run in Newmarket.

Lois Brown poses with participants by the memory board at the Terry Fox Run in Newmarket. (Lea Sheffield photo)

by Leonida Sheffield, Centennial Journalism

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 brings back memories of my teenage-hood and he was very, very inspiring. And as I’ve gotten older, he’s been an icon for cancer research for me, and you know it’s very close to home this year.”

Fox was diagnosed with osteogenic sarcoma when he was eighteen years old, and was forced to have his right leg amputated above the knee. Fox decided to run across Canada to raise money for cancer research, calling his journey the Marathon of Hope. Fox was forced to stop running outside of Thunder Bay in 1980, because cancer appeared in his lungs, and he died at the age of twenty-two on June 28, 1981.

For Muriel Lee, a member of the Terry Fox Run organizing committee in Newmarket for the past 10 years, it’s about giving back to the community.

“I’ve had a lot of family members touched by cancer. My mom had colon cancer last year, but is a survivor. Lost about three friends, two last year and one the year prior,” Lee said.

Hoping to surpass last year’s total of approximately 950 participants, Lee was optimistic that the event would attract at least the same number of people, if not more.

“Thirty-six years later, he’s still inspiring people to come out,” she said.

The Terry Fox Run has drawn great support from the community, including Lois Brown, the former Conservative MP for Newmarket – Aurora. Brown has been involved every year since the Terry Fox Run started in Newmarket.

“Terry Fox really is a Canadian hero,” Brown said. “He is a man who took a very bad thing that happened in his life and turned it into something good for thousands and thousands of Canadians.”

She takes charge of the memory board, a place for people to write their names and messages for loved ones.

“I think that’s the kind of energy and the kind of perspective in life that we need to respect and we need to try and emulate,” said Brown. “I believe cancer can be beaten, and I believe the work that people are doing here today to help raise funds for research is something that every one of us can participate in and be part of the solution.”

The Terry Fox Foundation has raised over $700 million for cancer research worldwide, with over 9,000 Terry Fox Runs each year.

Volunteers wear yellow or blue t shirts at the Newmarket Terry Fox Run 2016

A group of volunteers and organizing committee members work together at the Terry Fox Run in Newmarket. (Lea Sheffield/Photo)

Two organizers stand in front of black and white poster of Terry Fox, in Newmarket.

Organizing committee member, Muriel Lee, and principal organizer, Laurie Osborne pose for a photo before the Terry Fox Run in Newmarket. (Lea Sheffield/Photo)

People walk, bike, and jog at the start of the Newmarket Terry Fox Race in 2016.

Participants make their way at the beginning of the 2016 Terry Fox Run in Newmarket. (Lea Sheffield/Photo)