New West residents will once again be able to join together to support Terry Fox’s dream of finding a cure for cancer.
After a two-year hiatus because of COVID-19, the Terry Fox Run returns to New Westminster on Sunday, Sept. 18.
“If I have a particular message, it is that even during these times that are financially difficult for many, I hope people will come out to honour Terry, his dream and his memory,” said Dr. Kathy Jones, who has been coordinating the local run for at least 14 years. “The goal of the Terry Fox Foundation, as was Terry's goal, is to raise money for cancer research. Donations are crucial to meet this goal. For me though, more than anything, I see the run as an opportunity for all of us to work together in Terry's honour.”
Participants will meet at River Market, which is the starting point for a three-kilometre loop that goes to the west end of the boardwalk and back.
“It is a level, beautiful course along the river,” Jones said. “Construction to the east of the Fraser River Discovery Centre precludes us using that part of the Quay and Pier Park this year. Participants can walk, run, or wheel any portion of the route, including more than once.”
To date, the Terry Fox Foundation has raised more than $850 million for cancer research.
Jones said there is no registration fee to participate in the event. People are encouraged to register for the run online at www.terryfox.org, but in-person registration will be available at River Market starting at 9 a.m.
“Donations are encouraged, but not necessary,” she said. “Local businesses and individuals have donated food, drinks and items for a prize draw, all to make the event even more fun for all participants.”
Participants in this year’s run in New West will include members of Jones’s book club, which met for the first time on Sept. 19, 1992.
“We are now down one member since our beloved Nancy Clarke, died on Oct. 19, 2019 from spread of her second cancer,” Jones said. “We now participate in the New West run under the banner of Team Nancy. Anyone can register to support the team.”
Supporters of Team Nancy will include Clarke’s son Chris Ham, who participates in the run, in his wheelchair, rain or shine.
“When he was younger, Nancy was his engine,” Jones said in an email to the Record. “In more recent years he is pushed by his team of faithful runners.”
The tagline for this year's run is "Nobody is ever going to call me a quitter” – a statement Fox made in 1980.
“Terry’s legacy exists because of generous people supporting Terry's dream,” Jones said. “Terry, was many, many things – dedicated, caring, and compassionate. Terry wanted to be an example of perseverance and courage. Terry’s no-quit attitude inspires us to dream more, do more, and be more. His dream, his efforts and his foundation give cancer patients a reason to hope for a healthy future.”
Terry Fox embarked on his Marathon of Hope in St. John’s, Newfoundland on April 12, 1980, with the goal of raising awareness of finding a cure for cancer. After running nearly 42 kilometres (26 miles) a day for 143 days (a total of 5,373 kilometres), he was forced to stop running just outside of Thunder Bay, Ontario on Sept. 1, 1980 because cancer had appeared in his lungs.
In the years since his death on June 28, 1981, at the age 22, people in countries around the world have participated in Terry Fox Runs to raise money for cancer research.