For anyone who was around in 1980 when Terry Fox embarked on his Marathon of Hope, it would be hard to forget that curly haired 21-year-old from Port Coquitlam.
But a younger generation never saw the young man running on his prosthetic leg and doesn’t remember the sad day when — after running more than 5,000 km from St. John’s to Thunder Bay, Ontario — Fox was forced to end his journey early because cancer had spread to his lungs.
Now it’s up to parents and teachers to pass on the story of why every September communities and schools host runs in his name.
Kristi Crowe, a Nelson parent and school administrator, has participated in Terry Fox runs for years, but the event has new meaning to her since her daughter Elise was born.
“I think it’s important to model for your kids the importance of getting involved in the community in a positive way,” Crowe said.
She’s committed to making the Terry Fox run a family tradition. At last year’s event her husband rode his bike, pulling one-year-old Elise behind him in the child trailer, while Crowe ran alongside.
“We thought, what a great event and wouldn’t it be nice to get more families involved,” Crowe recalled.
This year, she volunteered to help with the run and part of her role has been attracting more young families to take part.
“It doesn’t take much to convince them to come out,” she said. “Terry Fox inspired so many people and he’s such a great role model for our kids.”
Mike Hurley has been organizing Nelson’s Terry Fox run for nine years. He’s looking forward to seeing some new faces at Lakeside Park this Sunday.
“It doesn’t matter if you want to walk or run or ride your bike; or whether you want to go out for one kilometre or the full 10 k,” Hurley said. “We welcome everyone to come take part. You can sign up the morning of or raise money in advance.”
This inclusive approach is true to the message that Fox spread during his run across Canada. The young man famously said, “If you’ve given a dollar, you are part of the Marathon of Hope.”
Hurley expects around 300 people at this year’s run and hopes fundraising will exceed $8,000. Like every Terry Fox run across Canada, the Nelson event is volunteer-run, with no entry fee, no minimum pledge requirement and no corporate sponsor.
Money raised goes to the Terry Fox Foundation — an independent charity not associated with the Canadian Cancer Society — which supports innovative research into many different types of cancer.
Nelson’s Terry Fox Run is this Sunday, with registration at 9 a.m. and a mass start at 9:30 a.m.
The Terry Fox National School Run Day is Thursday, September 27.
To register for the Terry Fox Run in advance and fundraise online, visit terryfox.org and select the “Terry Fox Run” tab.