The streets of Elmira will be a fundraising venue Sunday as people walk, run and bike in support of the annual Terry Fox event for cancer research.
Participants will follow in his footstep, albeit on a much smaller scale.
“Terry ran 42 km a day. So, he ran more than a marathon every day,” explained organizer Kathy Bowman. “And all we’re asking for is a 10k. Or even 2.5 km, 5 km or 10 km. Whatever you can do. And to come out and meet your neighbours.”
The event commemorates the work of Terry Fox, who lost a leg to cancer as a teen and later set out to raise awareness and money for cancer research by running across the country. His Marathon of Hope started in St. John’s in April 1980 and he covered more than 5,000 kilometres before the disease forced him to stop the journey in Thunder Bay 143 days later.
While he passed away in 1981 at the age of 22, his efforts resulted in a worldwide legacy that has lasted decades. Today, runs are held around the world to raise money for research, with participants often having a personal experience with the disease as a motivating factor.
“It’s a personal cause to us and to the majority of people that come,” said Bowman. “They all have good reason to go. Everybody has a very good reason to go.”
The amount of Elmira runners varies, generally depending on the weather. Bowman expects 50-100 to participate in the course. People from all over the area, including Linwood, St. Jacobs, St. Clements, Heidelberg, and Wallenstein, have attended this event in the past.
Participants have the option to walk, run, bike or even rollerblade at a distance of either 2.5 km, 5 km, or 10 km. The event is free, and completing the course is only half of the fun.
“We have a penny raffle table set up; it goes the whole afternoon,” explained Bowman. “So when people arrive, they can register, then they can buy tickets at the same time. The run starts at 1. If you’re not going to make it for 1 o’clock, that’s fine too. It goes until 4.
“There’s a free barbecue. When everybody has started to come back, that’s when we begin to do the draws for the penny raffle table. And at that point, everyone has left us their name and phone number so if they’re not there; they’ll get their raffle prizes with a phone call.”
Bowman hopes this outing will help the local group hit a new fundraising milestone.
“This year, we’re going to hit the $300,000 mark, come heck or high water,” said Bowman. “We’re going to do it this year; I’m determined to hit that mark for all the years that we’ve been in Elmira. With everybody’s help, we’re going to do it. I have faith.”
Their goal is more than possible – the Wilmot Terry Fox group, organized by Nigel and Cheryl Gordijk, raised a record amount last year.
“Last year, we set a new local record, with a total of $26,400,” said Nigel Gordijk. “That’s the first time we raised at least $1 for each resident in the township.”
The Terry Fox Foundation has raised more than $750 million worldwide since its beginning in the 1980s.
The run is set to take place at the Programmed Insurance Brokers, 49 Industrial Dr. in Elmira, from 1-4 p.m. on September 16. Click here for more information about the charity.