The Terry Fox Run has established itself as an annual tradition on the calendar for Toronto residents in High Park.
This year marks the 34th anniversary of the event, one that happens all over the country with more than 220 locations in Ontario.
Treva Thompson has participated every year for nearly 20 years.
“I was 24 when I was diagnosed with cancer in [the] hepatic system,” she says. “I was at university, and having to face your mortality at a young age is very difficult.
“The Terry Fox story was so inspiring to me being a young person with cancer.”
She took part in the event for the first time at an elementary school in Barrie where she grew up. After finishing her cancer treatment and moving to Toronto in 1997, Thompson began doing the run every year.
With an honours degree in anthropology and women’s studies at McMaster University in Hamilton, she is primarily a stay-at-home mom, but also teaches first aid and CPR part time for the Red Cross.
Very active at the High Park location in the last five years, she is also responsible for the social media content related to the area, updating Twitter and Facebook pages.
Fully recovered from her diagnosis, Thompson has three children – Luka (11), and twins sisters Klara and Mila (9) – who also do the run every year.
“They love it, they understand the importance of doing it and there are a lot of fun activities for kids,” she says. “It is a very family friendly event. Anybody can do it, really.”
The run distance often varies, usually between five and 15 kilometres. Participants are also allowed to cycle or rollerblade. There is no entry fee and no minimum donation.
Although it’s too early for final numbers, the High Park event this year alone has raised over $30,000 as of Sept. 5.
The event has been in High Park since 1987 and last year attracted over 800 people. The stories of determination and bravery are spread amongst all participants.
Peter Dominici has participated since 2001, the year after his mother passed away from cancer.
“My mom beat the odds by almost 40 years before she passed away,” he says. “She was a lot like Terry – strong, courageous in the face of adversity, never giving up. She has been my inspiration and a source of strength for me.
“I run in her memory.”
Thompson enjoys seeing all the faces that turn up each year.
“People usually go quite emotional when they finish, and there is a board where they can dedicate their run,” she says.
Thompson dedicates her effort every year to her grandfather who died in 2002 from leukaemia and her brother-in-law who survived melanoma.
High Park’s Terry Fox Run will begin at 9 a.m. ET on Sunday, at the Bloor West entrance.