Through the annual Terry Fox Run, Airdrie runners and walkers will once again do their part to raise awareness and funds for research into a disease that organizer Kyla Van Leeuwen said hits close to home for many people.
“Cancer affects so many different people,” she said. “I’m sure everyone knows at least one person who’s been affected.”
This year’s Terry Fox Run will take place Sept. 16, at 11 a.m. at the East Lake Regional Park. Van Leeuwen said runners and walkers will complete a two-kilometer loop of East Lake, as many times as they want.
In her third year organizing the fundraiser, Van Leeuwen said she feels Airdrie has embraced the Terry Fox Run. She said the event is usually attended by between 80 to 100 participants, who carry on Fox’s legacy and connect with his efforts through running.
“Knowing what he did is super inspiring,” Van Leeuwen said.
According to Wendy Kennelly, Alberta’s provincial director of the Terry Fox Run, Airdrie has held its annual community run since 1985. To date, the event has cumulatively raised $227,825 for cancer research.
“The support from Airdrie residents means that we can continue to fund research in Alberta and across the country,” Kennelly said. “In 2017, $22.7 million was directed to multiple cancer research projects that are close, or have moved from the lab to clinic. This includes a national colon cancer project that is helping to detect the disease earlier, the use of ultrasound to detect if treatment is working for patients with advanced breast cancer and for Terry Fox Profyle – precision oncology for young people.”
According to Van Leeuwen, organizers hope this year’s run will raise $8,000 – surpassing last year’s fundraising total of $7,000.
The family-friendly event will also feature a raffle for all runners.
Kennelly said the legacy of Terry Fox lives on every year when communities such as Airdrie hold their runs.
“In 1980, Terry’s Marathon of Hope touched millions of Canadians. Terry’s final call to action to all Canadians was to keep his dream alive – a world without cancer,” she said. “The annual Terry Fox Run allows every Canadian to join the journey. By participating in a Terry Fox Run, we collectively support research that is increasing survivorship every day.”
At the end of the day, Kennelly said, the goal of the run – besides fundraising for cancer research – is to support those affected by cancer and give them hope.
“Hope is a quiet thing, but if a dream is strong enough, hope can grow until it touches everyone,” she said. “Terry Fox’s Marathon of Hope did not end that morning of September 1, 1980. People are still running with his dream – people who believe in miracles, people who share Terry’s certainty that anything is possible if you try. Terry gave us the precious gift of hope.”
Registration for this year’s Terry Fox Run can be done online at terryfoxrun.org, or in person the day of the run.