Terry Fox died from cancer on June 28, 1981 at age 22, but his spirit lives on in the Langleys, and beyond.
With this year’s run set to take place this weekend, Langley City Terry Fox Run organizer Marg McGuire-Grout reflected on last year’s fundraiser for cancer research, when damp and blustery weather didn’t keep people from coming out to support the cause.
“We had a horrible run day [weather-wise],” McGuire-Grout recalled. “The weather was really nasty, but when I looked back on the photos, everybody had big smiles on their faces – nobody was looking glum, like they didn’t want to be there.”
Terry Fox Runs are held in more than 9,000 communities across Canada and are accessible to anyone with no entry fee, and no minimum pledge.
Since Fox began his 5,373-km run in St. John’s, Nfld., more than $700-million has been raised in his name for cancer research.
Locally, there were 50 more participants last year in Langley City, than there were the previous year.
As well, the City event raised $14,500, placing it in the top 20 for fundraising in B.C. and the Yukon out of 114 locations.
“That surprised me, simply because of the weather,” McGuire-Grout said. “But there were families, kids in strollers, and dogs. Everybody rose to occasion and that speaks to the cause – raising funds for cancer research.”
This year’s Terry Fox Run in Langley City happens Sunday (Sept. 18) starting at Douglas Park.
Participants can run, walk, or roll one kilometre, five kilometres, or 10 kilometres along City streets.
Registration is at 9 a.m., with the run starting at 10 a.m.
McGuire-Grout will have a small army of volunteers lending a hand on Sunday – she estimates roughly 45 to 50 helpers.
“I found when I first took over [as organizer], that just mentioning the name ‘Terry Fox’ opened doors,” McGuire Grout said. “There’s never a hesitation. A lot of volunteers come back year after year. They’re just dedicated volunteers.”
McGuire-Grout said no donation is too small leading up to, and on the day of, the run.
And while pre-registration isn’t required, McGuire-Grout encourages people to sign up online to avoid registration lineups Sunday morning.
Register online by visiting wwwterryfox.ca/terryfoxrun/langleycity and following the steps.
Last year was McGuire-Grout’s first as organizer in Langley City, and both of her parents had cancer.
Her dad, Michael, lost his battle with the disease in 1992, and her mom, Kathleen, was one of the first Canadian breast cancer patients to undergo a lumpectomy, and after six weeks of radiation, was cancer free.
McGuire-Grout’s husband Drew and children Colin and Melissa, both in their 20s, will be volunteering this year.
Aldergrove hosts run
Douglas Park is one of three Terry Fox Run locations in the Langleys this Sunday, with events also being held in Aldergrove and Walnut Grove.
In Aldergrove, registration is at 9 a.m. at the Aldergrove Kinsmen Community Centre (26770 29th Ave.).
The run starts at 10 a.m. from the centre.
Routes of three, five, and 10 kilometres are offered and are suitable for bikes, and wheelchairs and strollers.
Dogs on leashes are also welcome.
Walnut Grove run ready to go
The Rotary-organized Terry Fox Run in Walnut Grove kicks off this Sunday morning.
Runners will gather at the Walnut Grove Community Centre for the five kilometre route, said organizer Midori Turner.
The fundraiser for cancer research starts with registration and a warm-up at 8:30 a.m.
The run follows at 9 a.m.
It’s a small event, and participants can tackle the course through Walnut Grove’s streets on foot, running or walking, or on a bicycle.
It takes about 40 minutes for most people to finish the route, though a few speedy runners manage it in about 20 minutes, said Turner.
People taking part can give any donation, and there is no minimum.
“You can just come out and participate if you like,” said Turner.
Despite the low-key nature of the annual run in Walnut Grove, it has donated a significant amount of money to the Terry Fox Foundation.
“Last year we raised over $15,000,” said Turner.
The event is helped out by Langley Township staff at the community centre, said Turner.