The spirit of Terry Fox is very much alive and well as people in over 650 Canadian communities participated in the annual Terry Fox Run/Walk on Sept. 18.
Here in Cochrane, just under 200 people completed either a two or five kilometre route. While the final tally isn't in, Leslie Hunt, of the local organizing committee, estimates it raised between $3,000 and $5,000.
What brings them in together is the ongoing fight to raise funds for cancer research in the name of Terry Fox, whose Marathon of Hope inspired a nation. She says it's something she'll continue to be involved with.
"It's about keeping the spirit of Terry Fox alive and keeping his goals going year after year. It's definitely something that I look forward to every year, the community aspect of it, networking with people, and hearing their stories on how they're connected."
Among them was seven-year-old Beckham Stannard, who briefly took to the stage to talk about his grandfather with his mom Nicki Mailloux at his side.
"My dad got multiple myeloma three years ago, and he just started chemo treatment this February around his birthday," says Mailloux. "He's actually doing really, really well with it, he's so strong. He would have come here with my mom, but he's not feeling the best, so we're here to honestly support everyone. When it hits home, it hits harder."
Hunt says some enthusiastic leadership students stepped forward to assist as well as others.
The day before, Brandon Cruze, his son Jaxon and Dale Dacayana, and Edwin Aguanta cycled a 42 km round trip to Calgary to not only marked the 42nd anniversary of the event but to duplicate the average distance Terry Fox would run each day. His wife Lisa and daughter Jada were in the support vehicle behind.
Cruze had already been doing the ride daily for the last six or even weeks and encouraged others to join him to commemorate the Marathon of Hope.
"Because I was already doing 42 km a day and they had Club 42, it was a really natural fit that we pieced together," says Cruze. "It was a great opportunity to get out there and make a difference."
"It was literally to bring awareness. We had dozens of people honking, waving, and showing their support for us. We did have a pilot vehicle and it went really well. We took our time, everybody got through it and we made it in one piece.
"We discussed while we were riding our bikes that we were doing this on wheels, but pictured Terry doing this every day on a prosthetic leg."
A Club 42 was created to invite people to complete 42k over a period of time in memory of Terry, and to share their experience on social media.
Among them was Paul Cox, who also helped with this event and the one in Calgary.
Terry Fox School Run on Sept. 23
The tri-schools (Elizabeth Barrett, École Manachaban Middle School, and Cochrane High) will be doing their Terry Fox Run on Sept. 23 from 9:30 to 10 a.m. around the schools on the streets and sidewalk. No pets are allowed.
The Mitford School will be holding its run the same day, starting at 12:40 p.m.
Some other schools will likely be participating.
Since the first run in 1981, the Terry Fox Foundation has raised over $8500 million worldwide for cancer research.