By Samantha Chan and Lily Mak
About Terry Fox
Thirty two years ago, a young man’s compassion and selfless attitude ignited the beginning of a tradition and legacy in cancer raising awareness. After being diagnosed with osteogenic sarcoma (bone cancer) and seeing other cancer patients suffer, including young children, Terry Fox decided to run across Canada to raise money for cancer research. Terry embarked on his Marathon of Hope on April 12th, 1980. After running for 143 days straight on one leg and completing 5,373 km, Terry had to stop running because the cancer had spread to his lungs. Terry passed away June 28th, 1981 at 22 years of age, however, his legacy still lives on today in communities that participate in Terry Fox Runs not only across Canada, but worldwide.
The Terry Fox Runs are volunteer-led and organized. People from around the world selflessly devote their time to ensuring that a Run occurs in their community in honour of what Terry started and their connection to cancer. Cancer is a disease which touches a countless amount of people whether they are diagnosed with it or know someone who has been. It is no wonder why volunteer Run Organizers continue to keep Terry’s dream alive by organizing Runs and allowing those who wish to participate, the opportunity to do so in support of a worthy cause.
Betty Levens- Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows Run Organizer
Run organizer, Betty truly enjoys the people that she works with who help organize the Run every year. Along with the passion to finding a cure for cancer, the volunteers that are involved with The Foundation create an exciting and happy atmosphere for her to continue working in. Not only that, but Betty believes in the Terry Fox Foundation’s mission; to maintain the vision and principles of Terry Fox while raising money for cancer research through the annual Terry Fox Run, National School Run Day, as well as via memoriam donations and planned giving. “I want to get the message out to everyone that a dollar donated in Terry’s name means that 84 cents goes directly to cancer research. And I do point out that no other national group donates that high a percentage per dollar,” stated Betty.
Betty believes that volunteering contributes to a healthy lifestyle after one enters into retirement “There is a lot of time with nothing to do. That is unhealthy. So to be part of any organization and to be a volunteer is a healthy reward,” says Betty. Organizing the Terry Fox Run involves a lot of ‘running around’, which contributes to her active lifestyle. Therefore, by volunteering her time to The Foundation and being an active Run Organizer, she has been able to maintain a healthy lifestyle both physically and socially.
Silver Fox Runs
Introduced into the senior community in 2010, the Silver Fox Runs have given senior supporters the thrilling opportunity to continue Terry’s dream of a world free of cancer. Participation in the Silver Foxes sends many of our senior supporters on a trip back to those historic 143 days of the Marathon of Hope. “Many seniors will have memories of volunteering at a Run or taking part in a Run, making it a great way to encourage seniors to get involved in Runs while in a retirement setting,” says Betty.
Uniting retirement homes, seniors’ residences and establishments of the like, retirees across BC and Yukon stroll out proudly in their sneakers on Sunday, September 16th, 2012, on a course to outrun cancer while contributing in Terry’s name to help raise money for cancer research. From organizing a short walk around the neighbourhood to hosting a by-donation cook-off or Great Canadian Hair “Do” event, Silver Foxers are among a nation of supporters today helping to carry on the fighting spirit that Terry Fox demonstrated 32 years ago.
Run for Cancer Research, Sunday September 16th
You can help continue what Terry began by taking part in the Run this year in your community. The Runs are all inclusive and non- competitive. There is no entry fee and no minimum pledge amount. Run, walk, wheel, or ride your way through a Run route in your community. Bring your family, friends, co-workers and dogs on leash for a fun afternoon in support of cancer research. You can sign-up as an individual, Team-Up for Terry, pre-register and collect donations online; participating could not be easier. The Foundation would be delighted to honour anyone who has had or currently has cancer as a Terry’s Team Member.