For 39 years, Terry Fox and his Marathon of Hope has continued to bring people together to raise funds for research that will, hopefully, put an end to cancer(s).
In Saugeen Shores, almost 160 people gathered at North Shore Park in Port Elgin on Sunday(Sept. 15) to take part in the 39th annual Terry Fox Run. At last count, with pledges still coming, $22,503 was raised in comparison to $18,000 in 2018. “Since its inception in Saugeen Shores, $350,000 has been raised,” said emcee Geordie Farrell, “which is incredible given our population of only 14,000.”
For Geordie Farrell, it was an emotional start to the Run as it was her first since losing her husband, Earl to cancer earlier this year. For most who were there, it was a time to remember someone lost to the disease, to think of someone currently fighting the disease or they were there as a survivor of cancer.
Each year, a ‘Terry’s Team’ member is chosen who has undergone treatment for cancer and, this year, Jen O’Reilly was chosen. O’Reilly has undergone two treatments for skin cancer and is about to undergo a third. A well-known stand-up comedienne in the area, she added a touch of humour as was to be expected, even showing photos of herself during treatments.
Her message was loud and clear however, as she urged everyone to take precautions in the sun. “This is my one-woman crusade to be sun-smart.” She was, in fact, misdiagnosed twice as having rosacea before it was discovered she had skin cancer. After receiving a first treatment, it returned for a second time. “I was devastated. Skin cancer outnumbers all other cancers combined, according to statistics with 80,000 in Canada who will be diagnosed this year. One in five will develop skin cancer by the age of 70. Having five or more sunburns doubles the chances of having skin cancer. Sunbeds are not any better and 90 per cent of aging is caused by the sun. Please use sun screen and stay out of the sun if possible,” she ended.
One of the largest contingents of supporters came out for the Botting family and their little three-year-old son Easton who has acute lymphoblastic leukemia and is undergoing chemotherapy. His chemo continues for the next 36 or so months although some is administered at home over that time. The family heads to London every Monday for both intravenous and spinal injections for which Easton is put out under anesthesia. This will continue every Monday for the next seven months. “Some weeks during this, we are there Monday to Friday for intravenous chemo and bloodwork will continue every Friday,” says Alicia. “After the seven months, we go into a maintenance phase of chemo for the next two plus years. This will also require us to go to London a few times a month, as well as administering chemo from home. Any fever above 37.8 gets us min 48 hrs. in hospital, with antibiotic intravenously. He has had a port-catheter inserted into his chest to make the intravenous treatments easier.”
A lot for a little guy to handle. On top of things, mom Alicia has recently undergone treatment for lyme disease and is being monitored.
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Another large family group that comes every year from across Canada and the U.S. is Team Wakeling. This year, 20 family members came to the Terry Fox Run in memory of Sandy Wakeling and also in support of their team ‘captain’ who is now fighting cancer.
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For more than 30 years, Delores Speilmacher has fundraised and walked in memory of her daughter Cheryl. This year, she personally raised $1,400.
Dolores Spielmacher (L) walked with Holly Vanderzwet