Terry Fox ran the equivalent of a marathon almost every day for 143 days, from the east coast of Newfoundland to Northern Ontario, when his cancer returned and forced him back into treatment. He had limped over 5,373 km on his prosthetic leg, having lost his right leg above the knee to cancer at age 18 - three years before he embarked on his Marathon of Hope to raise $1 from every Canadian to support cancer research.
It was September 1980 that his journey came to an end, as the cancer that started in his bones moved into both lungs. The following June he died, one month shy of his 23 rd birthday.
The first Terry Fox Run took place that September, at last meeting Fox's goal of raising $25 million. But it didn't end there - the Terry Fox Run is turning 29 this year and has raised well over $400 million for research and programs for people with cancer. There are almost 1,000 runs that take place in Canada each year, not counting more than 9,000 schools that participate.
In Whistler, the Terry Fox Run is sponsored by the Four Seasons in honour of a commitment that hotel founder Isadore Sharp made to Terry Fox before his death.
This year events take place over three days.
This Friday, Sept. 11, there is a party at Merlin's with live music from Rachel Thom, Pierre Eady, Emile Sanchez, J-Rawkes, den tandt, DJ Phroh and Chili Thom, as well as live art by Vanessa Stark. The celebration gets underway at 4:30 p.m., with raffle prizes, 50/50 draws and a silent auction.
On Saturday, Terry Fox's high school coach Bob McGill - who inspired Terry Fox to try running, and visited Fox in the hospital the night before his surgery to show him a story about a runner completing the New York Marathon with a prosthetic - will speak at a special presentation at the Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre. His talk will be followed by a Q&A, and a screening of the Terry Fox Movie.
The minimum suggested donation is $10, and doors open at 6 p.m. for a reception.
The actual run takes place on Sunday at the Meadow Park Sports Centre fields. There are 5 km and 10 km courses available and participants are welcome to run, wheel or walk the distance for a suggested $10 donation. There will be refreshments at the finish line, as well as a barbecue by Splitz Grill, Subway and Mumz Kitchen, live entertainment, face painting and a bouncy castle for kids.
As in past years there will be a prize draw for participants, with the Four Seasons donating stays at hotels in Maui, London, Tofino and Seattle. There is also a silent auction that features a signed Trevor Linden jersey and a Vancouver Canucks jersey signed by the entire team.
The Pemberton Terry Fox Run is a more laid back affair. You can stop by the Pemberton Airport between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. and walk, wheel or run a 5 km or 10 km course. There are refreshments provided to participants.
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