Virtual Terry Fox Runs, uniting people in spirit if not in person

Fred Fox visits Orillia - August 2017

Since 1980, the first day of September reminds all Canadians of the end of one young person’s effort that then began a legacy of hope through cancer research. Terry Fox was forced to abandon his Marathon of Hope just east of Thunder Bay 40 years ago when the cancer that claimed part of his leg re-occurred in his lungs.

The all-volunteer Orillia Terry Fox Run Committee is honouring the legacy of Terry’s own words that day – “…but, if I can’t continue (the Marathon of Hope), it’s got to keep going without me” – by preparing for this year’s virtual Run and adding to the more than $768-thousand dollars raised in Terry’s name at the community run.

“Like Terry, we are undaunted by the task of trying to raise much needed funds for cancer research,” says Orillia run organizer Alison Stoneman. “Just because we can’t gather for a huge public event doesn’t mean we can’t creatively raise money online via the Terry Fox website. As Terry said, ‘anything is possible if you try’.”

On a recent zoom call, Terry’s older brother Fred Fox reminded local run organizers that, as sad as the end of Terry’s individual run may seem, it should be remembered as the beginning of a national legacy that has inspired all Canadians to raise nearly one billion dollars for research into all forms of cancer. “Although September 1st is remembered as the day that cancer forced Terry to stop his run, it was a new beginning of amazing support from across Canada that has had an enormous impact on research and now 40 years later, still inspires new generations to continue his dream of making a difference,” says Fox.

The committee encourages everyone to register online to raise or donate funds at as part of the ‘One Day, Your Way’ initiative. To help get participants in the spirit, virtual opening ceremonies will start at 12:40pm on Sunday, September 20th on its social media channels. Hosted by MC Jack Latimer, scheduled participants include Simcoe North MP Bruce Stanton, MPP Jill Dunlop, Orillia Mayor Steve Clarke, Ontario Provincial Police Commissioner Thomas Carrique and local members of Terry’s Team – cancer survivors. There will also be a virtual tour of the waterfront trail route with safety tips, a warm-up and the traditional staged Run start at 1:00 p.m.

Commemorative 40th anniversary t-shirts are available for purchase by pre-order while supplies last, with sizes ranging from Youth to XXL. A safe, physically-distant T-shirt pick-up location and date will be provided to purchasers.

Terry Fox virtual Runs will also be held in Sugarbush (Oro-Medonte), Lagoon City-Brechin, Beaverton, Gravenhurst, Barrie, Heart of Georgian Bay (Midland area), and across Canada.

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