Verla Fiveash, 84, has been a community leader for as long as she can remember. She has been a Scarborough resident since 1969 and has grown quite attached to her tight-knit community. Fiveash has been an organizer and volunteer for over 30 years and this year’s 36th annual Terry Fox Run at Cedar Brook Park was no exception. Fiveash lost her son to colon cancer in February, 2017. He was 57 years old.
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.
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
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.
For two young parents, this year’s Terry Fox Run was not only the site of an important fundraising event, it was where they gave their daughter some of her first life lessons.
To Pickering residents Robert and Cassandra Scrimgeour, Fox is not only an inspiration, he was an opportunity to teach their daughter Stella, 3, about compassion. And so, on Sunday morning at the Pickering edition of the 36th annual Terry Fox Run, the couple participated for their first time since grade school, but this time, as a family.
“(We want to teach Stella) the importance of helping people, those who need it. The importance of being there for others. Of giving back, especially. Of not being selfish. We think this is an important thing to try and teach at this age,” Robert said.
As a scientific advisor for the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, Paul Uehling experiences the benefits of the Terry Fox Run first hand.
“I understand how this money is being used and what advances we’re making,” said Uehling. “It’s a great cause and a fun experience.”
Uehling was one of over 400 participants gathered Sunday at the Toronto Beaches to take part in the local community’s 35th Terry Fox Run. As one of the longest running Terry Fox locations in Toronto, The Beaches run always enjoys a strong turnout of participants and fundraising.