The day began with a thunder storm that brought torrential rain and organizers of the annual Terry Fox Marathon of Hope in Port Elgin thought they may have to delay the event. Fortunately, however, Mother Nature smiled and the skies cleared and the event went ahead as planned.
“There has never been a Canadian quite like him, and there’s never been a story quite like Terry’s Marathon of Hope,” said organizer, Geordie Farrell, at the opening ceremony of the 43rd Terry Fox event in Port Elgin (Saugeen Shores).
It wasn’t easy. But Terry had a stubborn and competitive spirit, and as he said, “nobody is ever going to call me a quitter.”
Terry Fox ran for a total of 143 days straight, from his starting point in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, through the Maritimes, Quebec and Ontario. He ran 42km every day … in all kinds of weather. But he was forced to stop his run near Thunder Bay, Ontario when his cancer returned.
“Our small, rural community has raised to date over $450,000,” said Farrell. “Last year alone, our Saugeen Shores Terry Fox Run, together with our four schools, raised a total of $32,000! The amount is staggering and is truly a reflection of the power of our town. Whether it is fundraising for our hospital, for our food banks, or for an individual or a family in need, we are on it. And for that. I am so proud and grateful to be a member of this community.”
Saugeen Shores has held the annual Terry Fox ‘run’ since the 1980s and, at the event held at North Shore Park in Port Elgin, cancer survivors donned red shirts designed by Canadian actor Ryan Reynolds and the Fox family.
“I wear the red shirt to pay tribute to the hope that lives within all of us,” said Farrell. “Every year, thanks to the Terry Fox donations that have funded millions of dollar’s worth of research in this country and worldwide, more advances are being made in the treatment and cure of cancer. The way I see it is every day that I can wear a RED SHIRT is an awesome day for not only me but for all of us who wear red. We, the RED SHIRTS, are here to not only thank all those who have given so selflessly to Cancer research, but to prove that Cancer can be beaten.”
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Terry’s Team member 2023 was David Mason. Dave was just a young man, 45 years ago when his cancer was diagnosed and treated. Cancer treatment was brutal then, but Dave survived and stands today as proof that cancer can be beaten.
Although donations are still coming in on-line and local schools have yet to hold their Terry Fox day, the Saugeen Shores sub-total raised as of Sunday’s Marathon of Hope is $21,700.