INNISFAIL – Participants in Innisfail’s Terry Fox Run didn’t let the wet, cold weather deter them, but instead showed the same heartfelt dedication the marathon runner showed 38 years ago.
“He did 143 marathons. Every day rain or shine, he ran a marathon, said Patrick Gleason, organizer. “He did 26 miles each day for 143 days.”
The annual five-kilometre event took place at Centennial Park in Innisfail on Sept. 16.
Volunteers were out helping register participants, selling T-shirts and assisting with coffee and food preparations.
Grade 11 Japanese exchange student Mei Shimizu was participating in her very first Terry Fox Run.
“I think this is a really great thing. We don’t have this event in Japan so I’m really (happy to be here),” said Shimizu, noting she recently saw a documentary on the Canadian hero.
Gleason noted the progress cancer research has made since Terry Fox’s passing.
“For most kinds of cancer right now we have made inroads,” he said. “Things have changed, less people are dying (from cancer); they’re living longer and they’re beating it.
“I think we have to measure it that way,” he added. “It’s a little bit like Terry; slow and steady but we’re making progress.”
Gleason also stated that Terry Fox would be alive today because the cancer he had is now treatable and beatable.
“I think we just have to take an example from Terry. Slow and steady, dedicated and just keep moving on. He did that to his dying day,” said Gleason.
Lauranne Hemmingway was another participant in this year’s event. She lost both her father and husband to cancer.
“It’s a miserable disease and we need to stop it in its tracks,” said Hemmingway.
She wasn’t going to let a little bit of snow, cold, and wet weather stop her from making a difference.
“I looked outside and saw that there was snow in my yard and it was still snowing. I thought maybe I should skip today,” she said. “Then I thought Terry Fox didn’t quit so I’m not quitting either. I’m walking (in the Terry Fox Run) today.
“It’s all about trying to help find a cure,” Hemmingway concluded.