Toronto cancer survivor’s mother finds new meaning at 40th Terry Fox Run

Minerva Camarena has participated in the Liberty Village Terry Fox Run over the past three years. For Sunday’s 40th annual Terry Fox Run, things were very different.

COVID-19 orders and bylaws require Canadians to socially distance. The Run took place both online and in person.

“I know it won’t be that kind of pictures with the mommies and painting faces for kids, listening to beautiful testimonials, ” said Camarena in an interview. “One of my clients, who was at this, gave a testimonial last year, I didn’t know she was dying, so, it’s going to feel different.”

Camarena, the owner of LV Clean Co., raised $265 this year. She remembers how she first decided to register for her first Terry Fox walk in 2016.

“When I saw the ad, I told myself as a Canadian that we’re all proud of Terry Fox. I said, well, first of all, I am a company. I’m going to participate as a business and now I, fortunately, have no one who has cancer in my family,” Camarena said. “Little did I know that after that, my youngest developed cancer.”

Her son had testicular cancer. He had surgery in 2016. He survived a bout of Lymph node cancer in 2018, and is now in remission.

“The Terry Fox Run has had a very significant meaning now,” she said. “Now that I know, I’m more familiar with cancer. Now that cancer has touched not only my life, as a mother, but also as a server for Liberty Village,” Camarena said.

woman wearing terry fox t shirt
Minerva Camarena at the annual Liberty Village Terry Fox Run, Sept. 20, 2020. (Photo by Jla Starr Johnson/Toronto Observer)

During the Covid-19 pandemic, the close-knit Liberty Village community managed to raise $30, 410 in donations. Residents, including run organizer Teena Jones, mourned loved ones from the comfort of their own neighbourhoods and cellphones. 

“Katie Monroe, she’s been a volunteer probably since the beginning,” said Jones, the organizer of the Liberty Village Terry Fox Run.

“It’s made it even sort of more near and dear because one of our own, one of our own volunteers, have actually passed away from cancer, when as she was fighting even as she was such a big part of the Terry Fox run, so you kind of want to do it now for Katie,” Jones added.

Terry Fox organizer
Teena Jones and her husband, Gord Jones at the 2020 Liberty Village Terry Fox Run Sept. 20 2020. (Photo by Jla Starr Johnson/Toronto Observer)

September 1, 1980 marked the last day of the original Marathon of Hope. On a stretch of street close to Thunder Bay, Ont., Terry Fox felt intense pain in his chest. Fox died in the emergency clinic at Royal Columbian Hospital the following summer, at 22 years old.

During his Marathon of Hope, Fox ran approximately 42 kilometres per day for over four months in his cross-country mission to fundraise for cancer research. However, by kilometre 5,373 the disease he’d been battling spread to his lungs and he had to stop running.

The Terry Fox Foundation launched the MoveSpring app this year in response to the run going virtual.

“Not only is it a fitness app, so it’s tracking your steps, but there’s also challenges, if you want to challenge other Terry Foxers,” Jones explained. “It also gives you inspirational messages about Terry; it gives you the opportunity to donate directly to the cause.”

Camarena has her spirits up despite the Terry Fox Run going online this year.

“I believe that it should be virtual; when I say virtual, it’s from your heart.” 

Watch this interview with Minerva Camarena at the 2020 Liberty Village Terry Fox Run, Sept. 20, 2020. (Videography by Jla Starr Johnson/Toronto Observer)

About this article

Posted: Sep 21 2020 3:46 am
Filed under: News