Taiwan’s Terry Fox Run on hold but one couple carries on

Winnie Lo and her boyfriend, Quetin Lee, ran in a Taipei community park on Sunday and put on their Terry Fox Run T-shirts.

Terry Fox runners in Taiwan
Winnie Lo and Quetin Lee participated in their first virtual Terry Fox Run Sunday September 20, 2020. Submitted photo.

Due to COVID-19, the Terry Fox organization’s head office in Canada advocated a virtual run, known as “One Day. Your Way” to continue the 40-year marathon tradition. Fox’s determination to run across Canada and cancer patients’ courage in combatting cancer motivated the couple to hold the run by themselves. Lo, who organized the runs in Taiwan in previous years, calls people “cancer warriors,” instead of cancer survivors.

“I think the idea of Terry Fox Run is to challenge yourself…doing something that I personally would never do, and that I find challenging myself would be a way to really celebrate it,” Lo said in an interview with the Toronto Observer on Saturday.

“We can create our own hashtags on Instagram and nominate some friends to complete the running challenge,” added Lee, explaining how they planned to meet the commitment this year. He is a local Taiwanese who has been a participant since 2017.

Lo, a Taiwanese-Canadian, has considered Fox a true hero since she was a little girl growing up in Vancouver. After she graduated from the University of British Columbia, she moved back to Taiwan and became a teacher at Hanyin High School. She reminds her students about the spirit of Fox —achieve your dreams with perseverance, do a lot more for society, and see the world with optimism.

Listen to Winnie Lo explain why she organized the Terry Fox Run in Taiwan:

For Lo, 27, nothing is more important than “compassion,” the specific word she uses to describe Canadian spirit portrayed by Fox.

“Terry Fox is just one regular person just like any one of us. He wasn’t really powerful. He didn’t have a lot of money…But, he had a dream to help people like him and to fundraise for them,” Lo said.

To organize the first run in Taiwan, Lo gave speeches in schools and sent out flyers to communities to promote the spirit of Fox and the significance of fundraising for cancer research. At first, she found that Fox’s story had few connections to Taiwanese students. He wasn’t well-known in Taiwan.

Lo held her first Terry Fox Run in Taoyuan city on September 23, 2017. (Submitted photo)

But after the students heard about the case of a Taiwanese middle-school student who was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, the same type of cancer Fox had, they realized how cancer could occur around them. There were 1,200 participants at the first run in 2017. They fundraised over $11,000. The mayor of Taoyuan City also showed up to support the event.

Lo donated all the funds to the Terry Fox organization without covering her own expenses. When Fred Fox, Terry Fox’s brother, learned this, he sent her a thank-you card.

Lo feels it’s a shame that she couldn’t hold the run in Taiwan this year, due to concerns about COVID-19. So Lo and her boyfriend decided to run in a community park by themselves to maintain the tradition this year. They found it meaningful.

“We never thought the spirit actually meant something to our relationship,” Lo said. “It represents reunion and compassion, similar to what Chinese New Year says to us. We are here to accompany each other and to challenge ourselves.”

Quetin Lee
Lee was running in a community park with his Terry Fox Run T-shirt on Sunday September 20, 2020. (Submitted photo)

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Posted: Sep 21 2020 8:32 am
Filed under: News