Forced apart by COVID-19: reached Terry Fox finish line together

terry fox runners
Lisa Vanlint, (left), her partner Joanna, and son Alex at the Beaches Terry Fox Run September 2020.  submitted photo

“These are the shoes, well, shoe, that Terry Fox wore when he ran from Toronto to Thunder Bay.”

Lisa Vanlint holds up a brand new pair of Adidas Orions, the exact model that was gifted to Terry Fox twenty times.

“And they come with a copy of the letter that he wrote imploring Adidas for a new pair of shoes, along with laces printed with his quotes. ​Dreams are made if people try​,” she said.

While the model was not literally the exact pair gifted to Terry Fox when he ran across Canada in 1980, they were part of the themed limited-edition release for the 40th anniversary of the Marathon of Hope. The shoes sold out so quickly that not even Fred Fox, Terry’s brother, was able to get a pair.

For families like the Vanlints, the Terry Fox run meant joining people touched by cancer, or running for those battling cancer. Vanlint and her partner have been running the marathon for 23 years now.

“I remember watching Terry as a little girl,” Vanlint reminisced.

The run became personal for her when she consecutively lost her parents to cancer. But this year, they were running for her partner Joanna’s father, Terry King, who died last year. Over the last 23 years, the Vanlint family team has raised over $300,000 for cancer research.

But with the rise of COVID-19 cases in Canada in the fall, the Terry Fox Marathon presented both an adversity and a challenge. This year, the run was held virtually and remotely, with every family taking their own preferred route, with their electric watches to keep them accountable for the length they ran.

The Vanlints pride themselves on their dedication to the cause, raising $10,734 and surpassing their initial goal of $10,000. Despite the challenges that COVID-19 presented, the Vanlints did not run alone. Every year, on their T-shirts, they write the names of those lost or battling cancer within their community, and they cross the finish line with them.

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Posted: Sep 21 2020 9:22 pm
Filed under: News