By Kara Matthews
It’s a dash to the finish for Terry Fox Run volunteers as preparations continue for the 33rd annual run this Sunday.
Martha McClew, the Terry Fox Foundation’s Ontario provincial director, said her team is ready to go and attributes the event’s success to its volunteers.
“Two-hundred and twenty events across Ontario are organized and run by the extraordinary effort of volunteers,” McClew told Humber News. “This event would not exist without them.”
As for what keeps people participating, McClew said reasons have changed. She said 20 years ago people ran in memory of Fox, who died in 1981 of cancer at age 22. Now, McClew said, people participate and donate in support of or in memory of a loved one.
“It isn’t that people have forgotten about Terry Fox,” McClew said. “His legacy brings us together so we can make our own personal tribute to the cause.”
Dave Stephens has been a volunteer organizer with the Fox Foundation for ten years. He is currently involved in this year’s High Park run in Toronto. Stephens said he is passionate about this cause because it was the first of its kind.
“Before 1980 there was no national run like this,” he told Humber News. “To this day it is so community oriented, and still entirely run by volunteers.”
Stephens said people still care about the run because Fox will always be a Canadian hero and icon.
“Terry Fox was more interested in raising awareness rather than money,” he said. “Raising money is good, but it’s not the most important thing.”
Over the course of 33 years The Terry Fox Foundation has raised approximately $600 billion in Canada for all strands of cancer research. McClew said Ontario alone raised almost $12 million last year.
Stephens said almost everything raised goes to cancer research.
“Between 84 and 87 cents of every dollar goes towards the cause,” he said.
For those looking to get involved with a run this Sunday, McClew said it’s as easy as finding the closest one.
“There is no registration or fees,” she said. “You can roll out of bed that morning and sign up, simply make a donation of your choice.”