Cancer might have taken Terry Fox's life prematurely in 1981 at the age of 23 but his dream of finding a cure for cancer continues to live on. The Terry Fox Run is now an international phenomenon that continues to grow, expanding from just the run which is traditionally held on the second Sunday after Labour Day every year, to events such as National School Run Day and the Great Canadian Hair "Do".
The very first Terry Fox Run was held just three months after Terry lost his battle with cancer. Mr. Isadore Sharp, the founder of Four Seasons Hotels, who had lost his own son to cancer, contacted Terry after he had become hospitalized to get his approval to hold a run in his name. Terry was agreeable but had strict guidelines for the run which continue through to this day. One of Terry's main concerns was that there be absolutely no corporate sponsorship attached to a run in his name as all through his own run he had turned down all offers of sponsorship. Mr. Sharpe agreed and on September 13, 1981 the first annual Terry Fox Run was held in many different places across Canada with 300,000 runners taking part and raising over $3.5 million dollars. Since that time the Terry Fox Foundation has helped to raise more than $600 million dollars to go towards finding a cure for cancer.
So this September the 15th, with it being the second Sunday after Labour Day, the 33rd annual Terry Fox Run once again set off on the right foot in Leduc. The starting point was beside Telford House at Telford Lake Park where participants began their chosen 2, 5 or 10 km routes. The Terry Fox Foundation stresses that this is not a race so participation does not depend on any level of fitness. "People could walk, jog, run, bike, rollerblade, push a stroller or walk their dog along the route. Whatever they wanted to do. The important part is that they came out and took part in this great event!" Said Lindsay Weir, who organized the run in Leduc this year.
Last year approximately 225 people took part in the Terry Fox Run in Leduc and this year, even though participation numbers were down a bit with 168 people walking/running the route, Leduc still raised a fantastic $14,525.00 from fundraising, and with last minute donations and proceeds from the BBQ lunch the final total will be even higher.
Lindsay pointed out that a couple of the reasons for this success is that "The people of Leduc are incredibly generous and the Terry Fox Foundation keeps its administration costs extremely low so .84 cents of every dollar collected goes directly toward cancer research so this is a very effective organization."
A BBQ lunch was very appreciated and well supported by participants and the general public alike. While everyone ate they were entertained by country artist Joanne Janzen and local singer Brendan Guy. There was also a face painter creating mini works of art on young faces as well as 93.1 The One radio station broadcasting on site. The entertainment lasted until well after noon when all participants had completed their route and had time to enjoy their accomplishment in supporting a great cause.