With pandemic restrictions forcing the event to be held online the past two years, the Beaches-East York welcomed back the Terry Fox run as an in-person event Sept. 18.
Some runners, like Matthew Woolley, a personal trainer who has been attending events for Fox since his childhood, dedicated their runs to loved ones lost to cancer.
“I have family and friends who have been affected by cancer, some sadly that are not with us today,” Woolley said.
Woolley said Fox has inspired and motivated many Canadians to keep persevering and never give up.
“After so many years we are still celebrating the amazing accomplishments that he has done over his life,” Woolley said.
An American’s discovery
“This is my first time here,” another participant Shale Brown said.
Originally from the United States, Brown only heard about Fox this year. He felt Fox’s story was powerful and decided to take part in the run to show his support for cancer and medical research.
The Terry Fox run has been held annually at the Beaches since 1982, just one year after Fox’s death in 1981. Event organizer Bridget Keroglidis credits determination in her memories of Fox’s legacy.
“What Terry Fox accomplished is incredible,” Keroglidis said. “Running a marathon is already an amazing achievement, but running a marathon for 143 days in a row is unbelievable. The fact that he did all that with a prosthetic and not the high-tech prosthetics of today is mind blowing.”
In 1977, Fox was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a form of bone cancer, that led to having his leg amputated. To raise awareness and money for cancer research, Fox ran across Canada.
Embarking on his Marathon of Hope in April, 1980, Fox began near St. John’s, Newfoundland. Although he planned to finish the run in Victoria, British Columbia, it came to an end outside Thunder Bay, Ontario, after 143 days and 5,373 kilometres due to the cancer reaching Fox’s lungs.
Fox died on June 28, 1981, just one month shy of his 23rd birthday.
This year’s donation goal is $90,000, though Keroglidis shared how incredible it would be to surpass $100,000.
“Terry didn’t give up and neither will we, until his dream of a world without cancer is realized,” Keroglidis said.
This year’s message is, “I am not a quitter,” representing the resilience and determination that Fox demonstrated throughout his life.
With thousands participating in Terry Fox runs across the country, Canada is proudly demonstrating those same traits in Fox’s honour.