Local residents still strongly believe in Terry Fox’s dream, and proved it Sunday afternoon as 81 participants came out to raise $6,500 for cancer research, with more money still coming in.
While numbers were down from last year, individuals young and old, co-workers, friends, and families came out to the starting point at the Fort Frances Volunteer Bureau under clear blue skies and warm sunshine.
“It was a gorgeous day, and I hope everyone had fun,” said Debbie Bazylewski, who sat on the Terry Fox Run organizing committee, adding a team of 20 volunteers helped make it all possible.
Marg Katerick once again was the top pledge-getter, filling up 15 pledge sheets with names and raising $2,007 for cancer research—one dollar for each year of the date.
Twelve years ago, Katerick’s original goal was to raise $10,000 for the Terry Fox Run. She’s now up to $18,693.
“It is gratifying to know that in the 12 years I have participated in the Terry Fox Run to see the progress being made through research,” she noted.
According to the Terry Fox Foundation, improvements in diagnosis and treatment have meant that:
•death rates from cancer in Canada have been dropping steadily for the last 15 years;
•more than 60 percent of people diagnosed with cancer today survive their disease, compared to 25 percent in 1940;
•among women, incident rates for breast cancer have stabilized and death rates have declined since 1993;
•among men, testicular cancer is considered effectively controlled and death rates from prostate cancer have dropped almost 15 percent since 1991; and
•childhood cancer death rates have dropped more than 50 percent since the 1950s.
“This was Terry’s wish—to maintain the vision and principles while raising money for cancer research,” noted Katerick. “Thanks again to all my sponsors.
“As always, it is great seeing all of you at this time.”
“It’s for a good cause,” remarked first-time participant Donna Rogers when asked why she walked in Sunday’s event.
She noted a co-worker of hers passed away not long ago as a result of cancer, adding that “everybody’s affected” by the disease in one way or another.
Lisa Gushulak said the run was her first in quite a few years.
“Terry Fox impressed me, walking and running the way he did,” she answered when asked why she participated. “And I’d like to contribute to cancer research.”
“It’s a fun thing to do, and it raises money for cancer,” echoed Carly Pruys, who rode her bike in Sunday’s event.
Her sister, Sarah, ran in it as practice for the Muskie cross-country team.
The event also drew some participants who’ve seen a few miles, such as 88-year-old Irene Skirten, who collected more than $500 in pledges and was cheered on by several generations of her family Sunday.
The run was preceded by a short program. Katelyn Shortreed sang “O Canada” while deputy mayor Sharon Tibbs shared a few words, thanking the community for supporting the fight against a disease that affects most people’s lives.
Bazylewski, meanwhile, read letters from Terry Fox’s brother, Darrell Fox, as well as Kim Smith of the Terry Fox Foundation, both reaffirming the importance of the 27th-annual “Marathon of Hope.”
The local Legion Colour Guard also was on hand for the ceremony, as were Fort Frances Highlanders Matthew Jolicoeur, Jordan Manty, Danny Sheppard, and Jackson Gillon.
And Energy Fitness instructor Alana MacNeil, joined by fitness club member Kerry Canfield, led participants in a high-energy warm-up just before the start of the run.
Registration started at 1 p.m., with the run starting at 2 p.m. Participants walked, jogged, biked, or otherwise propelled themselves to Pither’s Point and back.
Along the way, they stopped at water stations operated by volunteers.
Once they returned to the old CN station, they enjoyed a barbecue courtesy of Community Living Fort Frances and District.
For those who didn’t pick them up Sunday, Bazylewski noted Terry Fox T-shirts, sweatshirts, and books will continue to be on sale at the Volunteer Bureau for another week.