York directors to shave their heads to raise funds for cancer research

York University students, staff and faculty are joining the larger York community in their bid to raise $10,000 for this year’s Terry Fox Marathon of Hope Run on Sunday, Sept. 14, a goal that would bring the total raised by the community for cancer research to over $110,000.

But there’s a new twist to this year’s event. A three-member team of York’s Sport & Recreation has issued a challenge to Frank Cappadocia, director of Student Community & Leadership Development, and his team to see which group can raise the most money in the first Great Canadian Head Shave at York, two days before the run. Together, they’re also aiming to raise $10,000.

York University has served as an official site for the annual Terry Fox Run for the last eight years, and this one promises to be as popular as ever. Led by Natasha Dhawan, a third-year York student, runners will set off at 10am from the Tait McKenzie Centre to run, ride, walk and in-line skate the route.

Right: York is U volunteers rejoice after last year’s successful Terry Fox Run

“The Terry Fox Run is a day when people gather, people of any age, race, culture or background­, all fighting for the same cause, to cure cancer. It seems like a big goal, but by taking the first step and doing the run, every individual is contributing towards this grand goal of curing cancer,” says registration coordinator Tatyana Potiyenko, a third-year Schulich School of Business student.

As for the head shaving, York Lions head football coach Mike McLean will lead the Sport & Recreation team of Jennifer Myers, director of Sport & Recreation, and Antonio Santilli, promotions and communications officer for Sport & Recreation. Each team is hoping to raise $5,000. Myers, McLean and Santilli will shave their heads in memory of McLean’s mother Delores, who passed away recently after battling cancer. Cappadocia will shave his head in memory of his sister Sandy.

Left: Frank Cappadocia

“My incredible sister Sandy Cappadocia – a proud York alumna – succumbed to her battle with brain cancer in December 2005,” said Cappadocia. “In her honour, and that of Terry Fox who has always been an inspiration to me, I will be a participant in this year’s Terry Fox Great Canadian Head Shave event.”

Brian Poser, associate director of the Atkinson Centre for Mature & Part-time Students, and Bharat Saini, coordinator, Assistive Technology, have also signed up to have their heads shaved to raise money for cancer research.

The Great Canadian Head Shave will take place Friday, Sept. 12, at the East Bear Pit in Central Square from noon to 2pm. Members of York and its surrounding communities are invited to come out and show their support for cancer research by donating, becoming a participant, as well as cheering on their fellow students, staff and faculty as they get their heads shaved. The head shaves are being provided courtesy of Klik’s Beauty Centre in York Lanes. To donate online, visit the Terry Fox Foundation Web site and search for the participant’s name. Those wishing to support the Sport & Recreation team, can also bring their donations to Room 314 Bethune, Keele campus.

Terry Fox Run registration will begin at 9am on Sunday, Sept. 14 at the north side of the Tait McKenzie Centre, followed by the run which will take place from 10am to noon along Ian Macdonald Boulevard to Chimneystack Road. Participants can choose their distances, anywhere from 2 to 10 kilometres. There will be volunteers and coordinators on the sidelines cheering on participants at every step of the way. Water and light refreshments will be provided to all participants courtesy of york is U, the event’s organizer. 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 Run and Head Shave days, contribute through the Toonies for Terry cash boxes that will be placed throughout York Lanes and the Student Centre, or donate online. Pledge sheets are available from the York is U office, Room 326 in the Student Centre, 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 the Terry Fox Foundation Web site. All runners will receive a certificate to commemorate their contribution to the cause and Jos Louis snack cakes – Terry’s favourite snack during his run.

The Terry Fox Run is a non-competitive charity event in commemoration of Canadian cancer activist Terry Fox and his Marathon of Hope, a cross-Canada run to raise money for cancer research, which Fox ran with one prosthetic leg.

Mobeena Arif, route marshal coordinator and third-year biology student at York, put it best. “The brick laid by Terry Fox must evolve into a wall against cancer. So come on out this Sept. 12 and/or 14 to build the monument of cure.”

For more information visit the York is U Web site or contact Natasha Dhawan, York is U charity & entertainment director, at charityd@yorku.ca.

Above: Participants run for Terry Fox in the 2007 Marathon of Hope

Terry Fox

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 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 to prepare, Fox started his run in St. John’s, Nfld., on April 12, 1980 with little fanfare. He ran 42 kilometres 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 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.