It’s been over 30 years since Terry Fox began his iconic Marathon of Hope, and across the country this September vast numbers of communities will be honouring his memory by supporting the fight against cancer when they embark on their own Terry Fox runs.
“It’s not as big as [some other events], but it’s a lot of families with their kids, and I think they like the physical activity part of it, and doing something together as a family,” said Invermere Terry Fox Run organizer Terri Lightfoot. “I like to see the returning people… it’s after summer is over and it’s a bit more of a relaxed event.”
In Invermere, the run will be held on Sunday, September 16 and starts at JA Laird Elementary School.
While Lightfoot isn’t sure exactly how long Invermere has been holding a Terry Fox Run, she has been volunteering with the event for roughly 20 years, and organizing it for the last 10. Lightfoot has a personal connection to the run as a cancer survivor herself, and said it’s always encouraging to see the 100-odd people that make it out each year, many of them returning participants.
“It means a lot, there’s no one that hasn’t been touched by [cancer], you either have a friend, or a family member,” Lightfoot said. “Just seeing that little bit of support… just to show people that people are still willing to go out and show up for you, that means a lot I think.”
One returning participant and volunteer this year will be Donna Scheffer. Scheffer, who lived in Terry Fox’s hometown of Port Coquitlam when he began his run in 1980, said she always felt very strongly about his cause, and began volunteering at runs in Trail some 15 years ago. Upon moving to the Columbia Valley in 2005, Scheffer continued to volunteer at the Trail rendition of the Terry Fox Run before deciding a few years ago that as the Columbia Valley was her home, she should really get involved in her own community.
“We’ve all lost someone near and dear to us to cancer… I mean if Terry Fox was alive today and contracted the type of cancer he died from, he would be fully treated,” Scheffer said. “It’s so important that cancer research move forward, and they’re having great success with certain types of cancer and yet they are miles away from finding cures and treatments for all cancers.”
Scheffer raised over $1,000 last year in pledges and said she always aims to beat last year’s total. With that in mind, her goal this year is to raise $1,500. To help achieve her goal, she has a booth set up at the AG Valley Foods open market on Saturday mornings. The overall community awareness for the Terry Fox Run in Invermere isn’t quite as great as she would like to see, and she encourages anyone who is interested to stop by the market on Saturday morning to learn more about the cause.
“In all the years that I’ve been doing it, the weather has always been grand and you always meet really neat people,” Scheffer said. “It kind of lifts my spirit to see that there are people out there still remembering what Terry did… in my mind, he is a true Canadian hero.”
Since the Marathon of Hope in 1980, the Terry Fox Foundation has raised over $600 million for cancer research and donates 84 cents of every dollar raised to finding a cure. The runs are non-competitive, have no entry fee and do not require a minimum pledge amount. Those participating in the Invermere run can choose from either 3-kilometre, 5-km, 8-km or 10-km distances, and participants are free to walk, run, rollerblade, bicycle or bring their leashed pets along with them.
For more information about the run, registering a team or signing up as a Terry’s Team Member, visit The Terry Fox Foundation website at www.terryfox.org or call 1-888-836-9786.