Hundreds of runners and walkers took to the streets of Cloverdale on Sunday morning for the annual Terry Fox Run, braving grey skies with sunny smiles.
As well as going on the 1, 5 or 10-km run, community members bid on more than 170 silent auction items, met Rocky Rockefeller, an entertainment and therapy bird who loves Elvis music, saw Riley, a Super Dog, show off her agility tricks, and partook in coffee, snacks and a hot dog lunch prepared by the Legion.
There were two special guests in attendance. Darrell Fox, younger brother of Terry Fox, came down to the run with his wife Bonnie and daughter Alex, and spoke to the crowd before the run launched.
Also in attendance was Matthew Reid, an Australian man who is lobbying to bring the Terry Fox Run to state schools in Australia. Reid began the opening of the ceremony by explaining how he came to be in Cloverdale on Sunday morning.
Reid told the crowd that he was inspired by Terry Fox to raise money for the Starlight Children’s Foundation, which supports children who live with serious illness or life-altering injury.
“I trained for about 5,000, 6,000 kilometres and ran from Melbourne to Sydney, to raise money for sick kids,” said Reid. “The motivation for me to keep going was always Terry and those kids.”
Now, Reid is working to bring the Terry Fox Run to Australia.
“For the last two years I’ve been trying to get the Terry Fox Run in my state schools in Sydney,” he said.
“Sometimes politicians can be hard work,” he said. “I wasn’t getting the response that I wanted.”
So Reid wrote to school children in London, Ontario, asking them for testimonials on how Terry Fox has inspired them and what the annual run means to them. Reid then took those “wonderful letters” to his local politicians.
In the last three weeks, Reid said he’s met with the mayor of Ryde and business leaders, and said “it looks like it’s very close.”
“There’s a very good chance I’ll be able to begin the Terry Fox Run in schools and have a sister city arrangement with the city of London and the city of Ryde.”
Reid is visiting Canada for the first time. He travelled first to London, Ontario, to visit the students who wrote to them and to thank them in person, and to then speak at surrounding schools about how Terry Fox has inspired him.
He then headed west to Cloverdale to take part in his first-ever Terry Fox Run.
“It’s very special for me to be to be here today and run with you. You have a beautiful country, and Terry Fox is one of the greatest athletes of all time. I look forward to installing [the run] in the schools, so my kids can be empowered like your kids are, and like you adults are,” Reid said to the crowd.
And we're off! pic.twitter.com/W18nDHKcR9
— Sam Anderson (@sam_andrsn) September 17, 2017
Darrell Fox, Senior Advisor at the Terry Fox Research Institute, and Terry Fox’s younger brother, then took to the mic.
“[Terry Fox] is my hero,” he said. “He’ll always be my hero. He’s my benchmark. He’s my standard. Whenever I think I’m having a bad day, I have Terry within to put me in my place and tell me I have no reason to feel that way.”
“I was lucky enough to witness Terry run a marathon every day on an artificial leg, and I’ve struggled for 37 years to articulate, to find the words, to explain to people how he did it,” said Fox. “I don’t have the answer to that question. But I know he did it for a reason, and that was to help other people.”
Fox continued, saying that since the annual run began 37 years ago, much progress has been made in cancer research.
“If [Terry] were diagnosed with osteosarcomoa today, he would live. He would not have had his leg amputated,” he said.
“So for me,” said Fox. “That is extremely powerful.”