Despite COVID-19, the community at Ward’s Island took action in order to raise money and participate in the 40th annual Marathon of Hope.
For Darryl Dinn, an actor who has performed throughout North America, the run has been a big part of his life for the past seven years. Dinn is a member of the team named Betty & Louise’s Bad Apples. This was done in honour of his lifelong friends Betty and her daughter Louise, who both died from cancer. This year, his team raised $2,525 dollars, which surpassed their initial goal of $1,500 dollars. For Dinn, running on Ward’s Island felt a like being back home in Newfoundland and Labrador. He currently resides in Ontario.
“Coming from a small town, the Toronto Island run always had a small town feel and afterwards… there would be hot dogs and corn and stuff like that,” Dinn said. “It’s just a very nice event so that’s where we’ve always gone, that always been our home.”
One of Dinn’s most memorable experiences throughout the years was doing the run with Louise, in honour of her late mother Betty, and afterwards, in honour of Louise as well. Louise had written a small reflection about cancer research and what it meant to her . She posted it on Facebook on Sept. 5, 2017, before she died.
“It was all about the fundraising with the money going to research and even though its virtual, myself, Louise’s husband, her two children, my brother and a friend of Louise are all going to go for a walk tomorrow and honour that,” Dinn said in an interview Saturday as he was preparing for the event.
Another participant who has taken part in the run practically her entire life is Hilary Kellam. She works for the Terry Fox Foundation within the Ontario school’s department and is in charge of coordinating school runs across the province.
“It is one of the best places I’ve worked, it’s such a family-oriented environment, everyone loves Terry Fox, so we have a lot of amazing supporters and you get to meet so many wonderful people,” she said.
Kellam suggested that those people who were participating for the first time this year should try to have fun.
“Just really think about Terry and what he did to help Canadians with cancer and even people around the world living with cancer,” Kellam said.
Terry Fox was a well-known Canadian activist who had intentions of running across Canada after he had his right leg partially amputated due to osteogenic sarcoma. He wanted to run in an attempt to raise awareness and money for cancer research. Terry Fox’s original goal of every Canadian donating a dollar for cancer research totalling $24 million dollars, had reached a total of $750 million dollars before Sunday.
The Marathon of Hope was founded by Terry Fox in 1980. Today, forty years later, the run is all about “inspiration and perseverance,” said Cam Hagreen, the organizer of the Terry Fox Run at Ward’s Island. “We started with a guy who lost his leg and decided to run across Canada and then over the years it’s been this massive grassroots movement.”
The event on Ward’s Island itself has raised over $500,000 since it began holding runs. The community would come together to run and participate in whichever way they could. However due to COVID-19 and the virtual run, participants resorted to running, biking and walking within their area.