The 39th annual Terry Fox Run began in Markham, Unionville, with participants stretching for the run, volunteers scrambling for last minute registration details, and the Markham Concert Band playing in the midst of it. All this in remembrance of Terry Fox, the Canadian humanitarian who embarked on a run across Canada nearly forty years ago, to raise money and awareness in support of cancer research.
Markham’s mayor, Frank Scarpitti, joined stated that Unionville was in the top 20 communities across Canada for the most money raised. He went on to share Fox’s legacy, which was the young man’s determination to save others from the impact of cancer.
“While he wasn’t personally able to finish his dream, we got across the finish line,” Scarpitti said.
Scarpitti opened up about his personal encounter with cancer, as his own father suffered from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
“The cancer that he had, if he had it today, the survival rate has gone up tremendously,” Scarpitti said, looking on the bright side.
Scarpitti expressed gratitude in knowing that others with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma are promised a better outcome today.
“Keep your hopes high, believe, and the attitude you have and the advancements made can ensure greater survival,” Scarpitti said.
For Scarpitti, the decades haven’t changed his family’s personal attachment to Terry Fox while he was alive.
“I remember quite vividly we were coming back on a road trip from across Canada, heading back home and we knew that we were going to see Terry across the route, we were honking and cheering while rolling down the windows,” Scarpitti said.
This year’s organizer, Lilly Ing, said the run means alot to her.
“This is the first year I’ve done the entire run, but my family and I have been helping out since 1993 with the Markham – Unionville site,” Ing said.
When asked about how she would improve the future runs as the organizer, she expressed her vision for Unionville.
“We want to really involve more areas of Markham, because right now we got people in this direct area. I would like to see more participants involved in the run,” Ing said.
The financial goal of the Unionville site was to exceed last year’s contributions, which was $66,000. She hoped for above $70,000 this year and noted that they had already reached $42,000 by Friday from online donations alone.