York runs for Terry

"I’m not a dreamer, and I’m not saying this will initiate any kind of definitive answer or cure to cancer, but I believe in miracles. I have to." – Terry Fox

On Sunday, Sept. 16, faculty, staff and students of York University will join members of the surrounding communities, to run in the 27th annual Terry Fox Marathon of Hope.

Above: Participants run for Terry in the 2006 Marathon of Hope

For the past eight years, York University has served as an official site for the annual run, which raises money for cancer research and this Sunday’s event promises to be as popular as previous years. The York community has raised more than $100,000 for cancer research and, this year, organizers hope to add another $10,000 to the total. Led by Tharani Keetheswaran, a fourth-year York student, runners will set off at 10am from the Tait McKenzie Centre to run, ride, walk and rollerblade around the Keele campus.

The run begins on the north side of the Tait McKenzie Centre and the route follows along Ian Macdonald Boulevard to The Chimneystack Road. Participants choose their distances, anywhere from 1 km to 20 km. The run is non-competitive and the emphasis is on fun. Water and light refreshments will be provided to all participants, courtesy of York is U, the event’s organizer. Registration for the run begins at 9am with the official run starting at 10am. There will be free parking for all participants in the NorthWest Gate Lot, provided by York’s Security, Parking & Transportation Services.

Runners can collect money on pledge sheets, donate money on the race day, contribute through the "Toonies for Terry" cash boxes that are placed throughout York Lanes or donate online. Pledge sheets will be available from the York is U office, Room 326 in the Student Centre on the Keele campus. Those making pledges should consider donating online as it saves 80 per cent of the administrative costs for the event. To donate online, visit www.terryfoxrun.org. All runners who come to the run will receive a certificate to commemorate their contribution to the cause.

Left: Terry Fox

For more information, contact Tharani Keetheswaran, York is U charity & entertainment director, at  ext. 57125, or e-mail charityd@yorku.ca.

Terry Fox was raised in Port Coquitlam, BC, a community near Vancouver on Canada’s west coast. An active teenager involved in many sports, Fox was only 18 years old when he was diagnosed with osteogenic sarcoma (bone cancer) and forced to have his right leg amputated 15 centimetres (six inches) above the knee in 1977.

While in hospital, Fox was so overcome by the suffering of other cancer patients, many of them young children, that he decided to run across Canada to raise money for cancer research. He would call his journey the Marathon of Hope.

After 18 months and running over 5,000 kilometres (3,107 miles) to prepare, Fox started his run in St. John’s, Nfld., on April 12, 1980 with little fanfare. He ran 42 kilometres (26 miles) a day through Canada’s Atlantic provinces, Quebec and Ontario. It was a journey that Canadians never forgot.

On Sept. 1, after 143 days and 5,373 kilometres (3,339 miles), Terry was forced to stop running outside of Thunder Bay, Ont., because cancer had appeared in his lungs. Terry passed away on June 28, 1981, at age 22.

The first Terry Fox Run in 1981 attracted 300,000 participants across Canada and raised $3.5 million. To date, more than $400 million has been raised worldwide for cancer research in Terry Fox’s name.

Each year, thousands of volunteers organize Terry Fox Run events in Canada and around the world. The run is an event where people get together as individuals, families and groups to raise money in Terry Fox’s name. It is a day of celebrating his legacy and helping to keep his dream of a cure for cancer alive.