The Payne family has been participating in the Terry Fox Run for about 20 years. They started running as a family of four in Oakville to fundraise for cancer research, and now they keep doing it in memory of their dad, who had colon cancer and died 10 years ago.
The family participated in the marathon Sunday, from two different countries. Clare Payne and her son, Kevin Payne, participated in the marathon event in Charlotte, North Carolina, while Clare’s daughter, Kyla Payne and her husband, joined the virtual run from London, England.
“We started doing it when the kids were in school, and then as we have been touched by cancer in our all lives, we have continued all in that way,” said Clare in an interview Saturday with The Toronto Observer.
This year marked the 40th anniversary of the Marathon of Hope, an annual run to raise money for cancer research. It started in 1980 when Terry Fox began his run across Canada to inform people about the importance of finding treatment and raising money for cancer.
To date, the Terry Fox Foundation has raised $800 million.
This year was unprecedented as it was the first time that the run was held virtually. But this didn’t ruin the plans for the Payne family.
It has been many years since they all participated in a run together.
“We’ve always done it virtually,” Clare said.
When Kevin and Kyla were kids, they ran in Oakville, but since then, “we all moved away, and now we carry on remotely,” Kyla said.
For them, the run is a great way to form a spirit of togetherness and honour their father’s memory.
Each year they set their own monetary goal.
“We throw $100 as a target. Early days, after our dad died, that was really easy to hit. I think that consistently now we probably get $200 every year,” Kevin said.
In an interview with The Toronto Observer, Fred Fox shared what kept his younger brother going when deciding to embark on the cross Canada run.
“Terry really believed that he was healthy, that he is set free from his cancer diagnosis after 18 months of chemotherapy and that it was his job to set others free from their cancer diagnosis through doing his run,” said Fox from his office in Vancouver.
This attitude inspired Kyla Payne.
“His [Terry’s] optimism is a big one for me. He had a big plan, a big mission to run across Canada, even with cancer,” she said.
For the Payne family, the Terry Fox Run holds a real hope that the donations will result in positive changes and finding the cure for cancer.