Thirty-five years ago, Terry Fox was halted on his Marathon of Hope run across Canada. While he was forced to stop and was never able to continue on his quest, communities have banded together every year to continue his legacy of raising awareness and funds for cancer research.
The West Shore is no exception.
“Cancer has been a part of my family since before I was born,” said West Shore Terry Fox Run event organizer Courtney Hill. “I truly believe in what Terry Fox has started… We need to find a cure for cancer.”
Organizing this event is a family tradition that began back in 1995. Hill’s father, Langford resident Dave Hill, saw an article in the Gazette stating the run didn’t have anyone to organize it that year and would otherwise be cancelled. He couldn’t stand the thought of the run being cancelled, Courtney said, so he took on the event and organized it right up until 2012, when his own battle with cancer was lost.
“I couldn’t see the run being cancelled,” she said. Following in her father’s footsteps, she took on organizing the event on her own with the support of her family and a few close friends.
“It was just a family thing,” she said.
This is Hill’s fourth year at the helm, but she missed last year’s event as she was in Ottawa for a ceremony honouring her father as a fallen firefighter. She said his cancer was determined to be work-related.
“I’ll be back at it until we find a cure,” Hill said.
This year’s run takes place on Sunday (Sept. 20) at its new location at Royal Roads University. There is no prior registration required and registration will take place the morning of the event at 9 a.m., outside the recreation centre. Registration is by donation and after an official warmup of the hokey-pokey, the run will begin at 10 a.m. Events for the day will be concluded with a BBQ.
Hill said every year roughly the same core group of 80 to 110 people come out for the event, but she hopes the venue change will inspire more families in the area to join in. She said the new venue will also be able to accommodate everyone and will give participants the option of completing a 10-kilometre, 5Kk or 1K route. All of the runs are non-competitive and are open to anyone wishing to join, including those with dogs, strollers, bikes, rollerblades and confined to wheelchairs.
The Terry Fox Foundation has really tried to keep events the way Fox wanted them, Hill said, with no minimum fee to participate, no awards for best times or most money raised and with them open to everyone.
“He wanted everyone to be able to participate,” she said.
Hill had a booth at the Saanich Fair on Labour Day weekend, and another last weekend at Uptown promoting the run but said many residents still don’t know about the West Shore event.
She hoped the venue change would help promote more awareness and give them the opportunity to grow.
But Hill has had a hard time finding volunteers this year and is still looking for help with marshalling the event.
“The foundation relies on volunteers.” She said because of that, $0.84 of every $1 raised goes to cancer research.
For more information go to the event’s website.
When: Sunday, Sept. 20
Registration starts at 9 a.m., with the run beginning at 10 a.m.
Where: Royal Roads University, gather outside of the recreation centre