On Sept. 16, communities around the world will be hosting Terry Fox Runs, honouring the memory of Terry Fox and his 1980 Marathon of Hope, and raising funds for cancer research.
A group of volunteers, including three students from Holy Trinity Catholic High School, met this week outside the Bradford West Gwillimbury Public Library to plan for the town's 10th annual Terry Fox Run.
Organizer Elsie Silva-Kniff explained their jobs – from taking registrations, to handing out bibs and stickers, ensuring participants are aware of the route, and selling Terry Fox T-shirts.
She explained there is no minimum donation or registration fee required to participate in the annual run, which raises funds for the Terry Fox Foundation and cancer research. It’s open to everyone, regardless of ability, and is as happy to accept donations of nickels and dimes from children who raid their piggy banks, as to receive donations from local businesses.
And although Silva Kniff is hoping to raise $1 for every man, woman and child in Bradford West Gwillimbury, anyone can participate for free. “This is the only run that you can do that,” she noted.
The run is special in another way: 82 cents out of every dollar collected goes to fund cutting-edge cancer research. In particular, said Silva Kniff, “everything you make on the day of the run goes straight to research.”
Registration for the 2018 Terry Fox Run begins at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 16, on the west lawn of the library at 425 Holland St. W., followed by opening speeches at 10 a.m., a warmup, and the one-, five- or 10-kilometre run, walk, stroll, rollerblade or cycle.
The event includes a barbecue, prizes, a bouncy castle and games – and, for the first time, organizers will be asking for a modest $1 contribution for some activities. It’s an experiment, admitted Silva Kniff - “a new thing, a way to raise funds.” Whether it continues will depend on public response.
She noted that online fundraising has already collected $2,000 for the Bradford run, and she expressed a hope that more residents will contribute and come out for the event.
The Terry Fox Run does not have a corporate sponsor, which was the way Fox wanted it. It is a run that belongs to the people.
But contributions, in cash and in kind, are still needed to help out with food, prizes, signs and banners. It used to be easier to find sponsors in the early years of the Bradford Terry Fox Run, when between 75 and 100 participants would come out. Last year, more than 400 runners and walkers participated.
“That is challenging,” Silva Kniff said. She is hoping that, with 10 years in the community, the run can build greater awareness, a strong and committed volunteer base, and network of sponsors.
Carol Collier was among the adult volunteers at the orientation meeting. It was her second year as a volunteer. “I thought I’d help Margie (Kneeshaw, co-organizer of the event). She works so hard,” Collier said, adding she also wants to support the cause.
The volunteers will be out at 7:45 a.m. on Sunday, getting ready for the run, and keeping alive the memory of Terry Fox and his Marathon of Hope.
“It’s always a beautiful day,” said Silva Kniff. “His spirit is always with us.”