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walkers 560The Terry Fox Run got underway September 18, starting at North Shore Park and heading down North Shore Road. Participants chose to run, walk, rollerblade or cycle either a 1, 3, 5 or 10 kilometre route.

Hub Staff

One hundred and thirty-nine people plus 40 volunteers converged on North Shore Park on September 18 for the annual Terry Fox Run. Geordie Farrell, event organizer, said that Port Elgin has participated in the Terry Fox Run since its second year. “So this is the 35th for Port Elgin and the 36th overall.”

Farrell got the opening ceremonies underway by welcoming everyone and talking about what inspired her to run in her first Terry Fox Run. “It was the story of Terry Fox,” said Farrell. “His dream and his run across Canada, the story intrigued and inspired me then, as it does now.”

Farrell told of how Terry Fox lost his leg to cancer at the age of 18, after which time he set out on a run across Canada to raise awareness for cancer and cancer research. “He started in Newfoundland on April 12, 1980,” said Farrell, adding that he named his run the Marathon of Hope. “His ambition was to raise a million dollars for cancer research.”

Farrell continued, “It wasn’t easy. Initial support from communities varied from nothing at all to a smattering of people that came out to give him a clap as he went by.” Farrell said Terry Fox was “an outstanding athlete with a stubborn and competitive spirit” who said that no one would ever call him a quitter.

“He ran every day for 14 hours, it took him 14 hours to run 42 kilometres,” said Farrell, comparing that to a run from Port Elgin to Owen Sound. “He didn’t care if it was snowing or raining or really hot, he just kept running.”

By the time Terry Fox reached Ontario, Farrell said his cancer had spread to his lungs. “He was forced to end his run near Thunder Bay after completing 5,400 kilometers.” Farrell said that Terry Fox then pleaded with Canadians to continue without him. “When cancer finally claimed his life in 1981, Canada mourned the loss of a hero but the Terry Fox Marathon of Hope lives on. Today we join thousands of others across Canada to carry on the legacy created by Terry Fox.”

Farrell introduced six cancer survivors, one of whom was Darlene Thorne from Paisley. Thorne had participated in the Owen Sound Terry Fox Run the morning of September 18, running 10 kilometers, only to then hop in her car and head to Port Elgin, where she planned on running another 10 kilometers in the afternoon.

Farrell gave a shout out to the volunteers before introducing this year’s guest speaker, Brian Death from Sauble Beach, a colon cancer survivor.

“In my biological family, four out of nine of us have had a cancer diagnosis,” said Death, adding that his family exceeds the two-out-of-five statistic.

In addition to himself, his father who was diagnosed with prostate cancer and later passed of heart failure at the age of 90; and his mother and sister who are both survivors of uterine cancer, Death told the story of his brother-in-law, Michael to whom he said cancer dealt “a severe blow”.

Death said Michael underwent surgery for testicular cancer at the age of 17. “Mike quarterbacked the high school football team, he was a fitness nut to say the least. Unfortunately secondary cancer developed in Mike’s brain and after two additional surgeries he succumbed to his cancer at age 26 in 1983.” Death added that when Terry Fox died in 1981, it had upset Mike “as Terry was Mike’s hero”.

Death said he has participated in about 20 Terry Fox runs and raised over $89,000, adding that 2015 was his highest year for pledges, as that year was when Death was in the midst of battling colon cancer and had lost 40 pounds, “I think some of my friends thought it might be the last time that I asked them for support.”

After telling the tale of his diagnosis, emergency surgery, eight rounds of chemotherapy and 25 radiation treatments - being sure to mention the doctors and oncology teams who saw him through his treatments, as well as the naturopath and registered holistic nutritionist who “helped me to stay on track and healthier through eight months of traditional treatments and on into my recovery stage,” Death said he was happy to report that he was now cancer free. “More importantly, I feel good, I’ve regained my energy and my fitness level.”

Death said that it was important to keep Terry Fox’s dream alive. “Terry wanted money raised to support the best and the brightest... research scientists in Canada,” said Death, who then referenced the quote on the back of this year’s event t-shirts. “Terry was asked what matters in life, the back of our t-shirt... quotes Terry’s simple, yet powerful answer, ‘The answer is to try and help others’.”

All told, the event raised $14,443.19 in support of cancer research.

brian 560Brian Death, a colon cancer survivor, spoke to those in attendance, reminding everyone to first, support the partners and loved ones of cancer patients; second, get regular check ups and watch out for any irregularities; and third, keep Terry Fox’s dream alive.

Wolfe 560The Wolfe family, long-time participants in the Terry Fox Run. In front, left to right, Mykenzie and Greyson. Behind, left to right, Sarah (Mom), Landyn and Greg (Dad).

WarmupHolly Vanderzwet (left) and Tiffany Krause, Fitness Corner and Fitness Corner South, got the crowd warmed up ahead of the Terry Fox Run, September 18.

cyclists 560Cyclists head down North Shore Road to take part in the Terry Fox Run, September 18.

Wakeling 560Team Wakeling, who received special mention at this year's Terry Fox Run, converges on Port Elgin for a reunion each year, coming from as far away as Philadelphia, Bracebridge, Huntsville and Quebec; and for the last five years they have taken part in the fundraising event. As many as 20 have participated and they do so in honour of Sandy Wakeling, who passed away from cancer five years ago.

RoughIdea 560Rough Idea entertained the crowds as participants arrived and got registered for the Saugeen Shores Terry Fox Run. Left to right, Trevor Marks, Wayne Marks, Jamie Scurfield, John Brush, Bill Harper.

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