Liberty Village cares. That’s what the coordinators for Liberty Village’s Terry Fox Run wanted participants to know.
This was the 38th year for the annual nation-wide Terry Fox Run. Fox was a Canadian symbol for hope and perseverance. After having dealt with osteosarcoma, a cancer which starts near the knees, and amputating his right leg, Fox still managed to run half way across Canada to help raise awareness and support for cancer research.
Keeping the tradition alive, local community group Liberty Village Cares gathered residents and local businesses, who then donated their time and products to this year’s Terry Fox Run.
“It’s community driven, it’s community based, it’s run by my volunteers. It’s not run by the corporate money set for money. We said, we have a cool community and let’s do it. And this is our fourth year doing it,” said Jagger Long, one of the organizers for Liberty Village Terry Fox Run.
Raising over $100,000 the past three years, they aimed to raise another $50,000 this year. According to Dawn Rzpeka, the lead organizer, 150 participants had signed up for the run.
“We have great support from the many businesses like in any of the initiatives that we do. And it really showed this year as well,” Rzpeka said.
Participants on Sunday received “swag bags”, food, coffee, and more. Families were also welcomed in the kids corner, where some children had their face painted, others played some games, and were given the opportunity to draw with chalk on the sidewalk. Meet and greets with local firefighters, and yoga exercises were also available before the run. One of the participants in these pre-game activities was Toronto Wolf Pack’s team mascot: Jefferson.
The professional rugby team, Toronto Wolf Pack, contributed to the Liberty Village Terry Fox Run by including donated tickets in each “swag bag”, plus tickets for their next season as prizes.
“It’s important for us as a club to get involved in our community, and Liberty Village is our home in Canada,” according to Amy Stoparczyk, a spokesperson for the Toronto Wolf Pack.
With over 15 years of participating in the Terry Fox Run events around Toronto, Tony Baylis said he could feel the strong sense of community in Liberty Village.
“The other runs that I’ve been to, you know – you just kind of sign up and run. Whereas here, there’s an effort to get everyone together and start,” Baylis said.
Liberty Village residents are also actively participating and supporting weekly Sunday dinners at Strachan House, community barbecues, an annual Halloween walk, as well as donation drives.