The old coach partook in the 36th Terry Fox run for Cancer this past Sunday in Port Credit, Ontario, Canada.I have run in all 36 of these – well, actually, I count this as my 37th! Why is that? Well, back in 1980 (the year Terry started his Marathon of Hope), I was running my own Fitness Consulting business in London, Ontario, Canada. Bob Vigars, the head track coach at the University of Western Ontario (and brother of Bill who was the promotions coordinator for Terry’s Marathon of Hope), asked if I’d be part of a team of local fitness professionals who would run the final 12 kilometres of the London segment with Terry. This was more to keep Terry company and motivate him to push through the pain. I was only 2 years older than Terry but I soon realized the magnitude of his accomplishment. He truly WANTED to be the catalyst for a cure to not only the cancer that ultimately took his life but ALL cancers. Needless to say, the experience had a profound lifelong effect on me. Once the Terry Fox run was established, I vowed to do it every year until either it was no longer or I was no longer! I also committed to raising funds annually for the foundation, truly believing that positive progress can be made with quality research in the fight against cancer. I have kept my promise on both fronts thus far!
Sunday, September 18, 2016 broke perfectly weather-wise and the turnout at the Port Credit lighthouse venue was impressive.From little ones in strollers or on bikes with parents to teams running in memory of a loved one, everyone had one thing in common – getting out and supporting the work of a powerful, difference-making foundation that has stayed true to Terry’s dream of “finding a cure” and “never giving up”.I had the pleasure of being joined by a few family members who walked either 5 or 10 kilometres and raised funds for the Terry Fox Foundation. This made the day even more special than normal.Of course, the run would not be the same without the participation of a number of my long time colleagues who are saddled with various forms of physical and mental challenges. Every day, they wake up and say “this is going to be a great day!” In spite of everything they have been dealt, there is NO complaining. From my ‘girlfriend’, Rebecca, who has a plethora of physical and mental challenges (confined to a wheelchair) to Malcolm who has cerebral palsy (also confined to a wheelchair) to Kyle, a young lad who lost part of his right leg to the same cancer that attacked Terry, they all finished the distance and shone through like beacons on the stormy seas. If you cannot get motivated to make a difference in someone’s life after being in the presence of such powerful yet humble people, you do NOT have a pulse!
This was the final year (after 13 years) for Louisa and her organizing committee at the Port Credit venue. They made it one of the best Terry Fox Run sights in the GTA. We can only hope that a new group of committed volunteers step forward to continue the event with the same enthusiasm.
Thanks to all who came out and supported Terry and his dream. Oh, before I forget, the old coach of course, ran the 10 kilometres BAREFOOT yet again.