Gibson Park Terry Fox Run gives family ‘strength to go along this journey’

Family at Terry Fox Run

Farshid Tabloie in red ball cap stands with Aryo’s family showing their support at the Gibson Park Terry Fox Run on Sept. 18, 2016. (Olivia Blackmore photo)

By: Olivia Blackmore, Centennial Journalism

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.

“Terry Fox Run gave the opportunity for all of us to get together and this great cause will give us the strength to go along this journey which has been difficult for our friend,” said Farshid Tabloie, a friend of the family during Sunday’s event. “This is a cause for a person who actually did a really inspiring job, and inspires a lot of people in Canada, well, I should say across the world.”

The annual Terry Fox Run for cancer research is not only an event to raise money and awareness for cancer research, it is also a place to share, celebrate, or honour the journey of those directly impacted by cancer. Some showed support by holding brightly coloured signs with their loved ones’ name spelled out in bold letters. For others, the experience is private.

Terry Fox began his Marathon of Hope on April 12, 1980 after having his right leg amputated due to cancer. Fox’s goal was to run across Canada from coast to coast and raise $1 million. Fox’s marathon ended in North Bay when a pain in his chest prevented him from going any further. His primary cancer. osteogenic sarcoma, had spread to his lungs. He died on June 28, 1981. The first Terry Fox Run took place on September 13, 1981, and to date, has raised over $650 million for cancer research.

The Rotary Club of North York has been organizing the Gibson Park Terry Fox Run for the past 12 years. This year, the Fox Foundation arranged an event prior to the weekend that brought volunteers for the event from all across Canada to hear researchers, doctors and scientists speak about the progress being made thanks to the funding from the annual runs. 

“In the last two years the scientists have come up with some amazing new discoveries,” said Monica Walderman, the director of communications for the Rotary Club of North York, who was one of the event organizers. “They’re getting such fabulous success that [the treatments] they’re not even staying in the trials, they’re starting to work on actual human beings.” 

Stanley Rapkin, a cancer survivor and another of the organizers, said the Rotary Club of North York raises between $12,000-18,000 each year.

“We’re out there trying to raise some money and do good,” he said. “Raising over $600 million for research certainly helps to bring, hopefully, a cure and longevity to people that are suffering.”

Rapkin was diagnosed with testicular cancer 18 years ago.

Runners starting the Terry Fox Run in Toronto.

Runners starting the Terry Fox Run at Gibson Park on Sept. 18, 2016. (Photo by Olivia Blackmore)