The statistics are staggering: one in two British Columbians will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives. The number of new cancer diagnoses in BC will grow by 40 per cent over the next decade.
We have all unfortunately lost friends, family members, neighbours and workmates to the disease. It seems daunting and depressing to think about and yet we all have an opportunity to make a difference, for as Terry Fox said, somewhere the hurting must stop.
Terry Fox of Port Coquitlam, B.C. was only 18 in 1977 when he was diagnosed with cancer in his knee and had his right leg amputated. The 16 months of follow-up treatment affected him greatly and less than two years later, he started training for a run across Canada that he hoped would raise $1 million dollars for cancer awareness and research. A quest he named The Marathon of Hope.
He set out from St. John’s, Newfoundland on April 12, 1980. There was very little media coverage and almost no awareness of his herculean efforts. But he went on to run a marathon a day with his artificial leg, averaging 26 miles or 42 km per day, for 143 days and public support grew daily.
When his run had to stop outside of Thunder Bay, Ontario on September 1 due to his failing health, it was a national news story.
And as Canadians learned that his cancer had returned, the entire country came together. A nationwide fundraising telecast was held, Terry received many honours and he endured more chemotherapy.
Sadly, he died one month short of his 23rd birthday.
Yet his Marathon of Hope carries on 38 years later, as the Terry Fox Foundation continues to oversee an annual Terry Fox Run on the second Sunday after Labour Day all over the world. To date, more than $700 million has been raised and more than 75 different cancer research projects are being supported.
On Sunday, September 16, you can take part in the annual Terry Fox Run for Cancer Research in Hope.
Pledge sheets are available from the Hope Recreation Centre or you can donate online at terryfox.org.
Event registration takes place at 1 p.m. in the Memorial Park bandstand at the corner of 3 Ave. and Park St.
You can walk, run or cycle a 3 km, 5 km or 10 km route as they are suitable for bikes, strollers, wheelchairs and rollerblades. Dogs on leash are welcome, and a celebration will take place in Memorial Park when the participants complete their chosen routes.
Please consider making a donation to the Terry Fox Foundation to support cancer awareness and research – all donations of $20 or more will receive a tax receipt. And come out on Sunday, September 16 to remember Terry Fox and to support his vision — a world free of cancer and the suffering it causes. You too can make a difference.