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Terry Fox Run dedicated to Cridland family

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Carrying on the recent tradition of dedicating the annual Terry Fox Run to a local family that has dealt with cancer, this year’s fundraiser was dedicated to the family of Herb and Shirley Cridland.

A dozen members of the Cridland family came out for the “Marathon of Hope” on Sunday, including their daughters, Verna Cridland and Laura Cridland-Bruyere; and son, Doug Cridland, his wife, Caron, and their children, Dana, Danielle, and Jess.

Also on hand were their daughter Diane (Blair) Boustead’s children, Sydney and Hailey Boustead, and their son Duane (Grace) Cridland’s children, Christine and Stacey Cridland.

“It was nice to see that many people out in support of a good cause,” Cridland-Bruyere said Monday. “It’s amazing how many people cancer affects.”

She noted it’s almost been a year since her father, Herb, passed away from cancer on Oct. 1, 2003. She also lost her mother, Shirley, to cancer back in 1983.

Cridland-Bruyere added organizers of the Terry Fox Run here should continue to dedicate the event to a particular family or individual because it puts a local face on nation-wide fundraiser.

“I thought it was a good way to keep the memory alive,” echoed Verna Cridland.

“The Terry Fox Foundation encourages people to be ‘leaders’ each year to serve as an inspiration,” said organizer Vanessa Hebert, also the executive director of the Fort Frances Volunteer Bureau.

“And this year, we picked Verna and Laura.

“I think it’s great,” Hebert added. “It’s something you get out of this [the Terry Fox Run] beyond carrying on the Terry Fox name.”

In fact, Hebert said she’s already approached Mayor Dan Onichuk about being a leader next year since he, too, had seen family members battle cancer.

The mayor agreed.

Over the past couple of years, the local run has been dedicated to Rhonda Spuzak, an Alberton resident who survived thyroid cancer seven years ago, and the late Celeste Beck, former owner of Celeste’s Hair Design for Men & Women here, who passed away from cancer in 1983.

Meanwhile, though still waiting for some pledges to come in (including those from Ed Katona, who was expected to be home yesterday after his bike trip to Duluth and back), Hebert said it looks as if this year’s Terry Fox Run here brought in at least $9,000.

But when all is said and done, she felt that number should be closer to $11,000—roughly the same as was raised last year.

Marj Hull-Katerick once again was the top pledge-getter, getting 134 people to help reach her goal of $2,004 for this year’s Terry Fox Run. She would like to thank everyone who contributed—and hopes to keep the fundraising going year after year.

“Each year is special when I canvas, seeing so many familiar faces—their smiles and comments,” Hull-Katerick remarked. “And new faces keep coming, too.”

She stressed she believes in the Terry Fox Foundation motto, “A single dream. A world of hope,” and is confident there will be a cure for cancer in her lifetime.

In fact, in a letter Hull-Katerick received last month, Terry Fox researcher Dr. James Woodgett wrote: “Recognizing we still face major challenges in reducing the burden of cancer, the advances in cancer research enabled by the Terry Fox Foundation since Terry’s feat have been truly enormous.

“So much so that I, and many other cancer biologists, am optimistic that we will control this disease within the present generation—a pipe dream only a decade ago.”

Hull-Katerick added that last year, she exceeded her personal goal of raising a total of $10,000 in pledges for the Terry Fox Run over several years and now has her eye on the $20,000 mark.

To date, she’s raised a total of $12,675.

Meanwhile, Joyce Gosselin, who’s been raising significant funds for the past six years, raised the second-most money with $1,122 in pledges.

Gosselin noted she would have liked to raise more, but was a little late in getting going with her fundraising—trying to get over a cold at the same time as she trains for the Special Olympics coming up in February.

Hebert applauded the pair for coming through again. “$2,004 from Marj, $1,122 from Joyce. Right there, that’s over $3,000. That’s a big deal,” she enthused.

Something new to the fundraising this year, a “tag day” held last Tuesday brought in $150 for the Terry Fox Foundation.

Hebert noted this amount was greater than a fundraiser barbecue held prior to the run last year raised, and it was likely a pre-run “tag day” would be held next year on a Friday or Saturday.

But perhaps a better way to gauge the run’s success this year was the surge in participation.

“We had 131 participants. Last year, we had 94. We had lots and lots of new participants,” Hebert remarked, adding new faces bring an “infusion of enthusiasm.”

“It’s really encouraging,” she said. “It was a beautiful day. But I wonder if it had been a little cooler, would we have had even a few more people?”

Participants started gathering at the old CN station around 1 p.m. Sunday as they registered and turned in their pledges.

After Mayor Dan Onichuk gave a brief speech and Doris Barton led the participants in some warm-up exercises, the run got underway at 2 p.m.

Participants walked, ran, jogged, or wheeled themselves to the railway crossing at Pither’s Point via Central Avenue, Second Street East, Victoria Avenue, and Front Street (the La Verendrye Parkway), and then returned.

Once back at the Fort Frances Volunteer Bureau, participants and volunteers were treated to hotdogs and beverages. The total distance was around 10 km.

Hebert noted the new location was more convenient than the museum site on Scott Street, and that she would stick to the same format in 2005.

Hebert said a total of 29 volunteers lent a hand at the event. Their tasks included handing out water to runners, manning the registration table, flagging participants along the course, cooking hotdogs, giving out temporary Terry Fox tattoos, and painting youngsters’ faces.

“We had a lot of participation from the town. The mayor [Dan Onichuk] showed up and gave a speech,” Hebert noted. “The OPP led the runners until Victoria Avenue. The ambulance went along with us.

“It was all very encouraging,” she added.

Hebert noted Terry Fox T-shirts will be on sale at the Volunteer Bureau until the end of the week, adding those interested also can order Terry Fox sweatshirts and calendars from her at 274-9555.

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