Thirty-five years after the first Terry Fox run, Canadians are still going strong to raise funds for cancer research by running, walking, and biking every September. Although the Terry Fox run is held in municipalities all over Canada as well as internationally, not all small communities host them. New Bowen Islander and avid trail runner Colin Gilliam recently ran the Handlogger’s Half Marathon, and wasn’t sure if Bowen would have a Terry Fox Run, but to his good fortune, he discovered that the race was on.
Shelagh MacKinnon has been organizing the Bowen Island Terry Fox Run since she moved here in 1999. She recalls the 1980 CTV celebrity telethon that raised $10 million for cancer research eight days after Terry had to stop running in Ontario, because his bone cancer had spread to his lungs. Though he didn’t make it as far as Saskatchewan, where Shelagh was living at the time, he touched people all across Canada with his persistence, hope, and compassion for those with cancer.
Marla Brillinger came out Sunday to run in support of her 80-year-old father, now living in California. At 44 years old, Bruce Brillinger ran alongside Terry Fox in Acton, Ontario. A cancer survivor himself, Bruce has run every year since, and was honoured in Ontario as one of 10 people who haven’t missed a single Terry Fox run. Hilary Butler, a first time Terry Fox runner on Bowen, and an organizer for Rotary Run for Rwanda, loves running whenever she can. She also remembers Terry’s run, which has always meant a lot to her because of the history of breast cancer in her family. As a teacher in West Van she ran many times there for the cause, and says “it’s an excellent project for kids to take part in something so important to Canadians.”
Shelby Jennings, along with fellow young runners Martha, Henry, and Fleur aimed to run the whole way, from Collins Hall, around Killarny Lake, and back. Whether there for the sunshine and exercise, or to honour a personal experience with cancer or with Terry Fox himself, folks of all ages came out this beautiful day, in spirit with Canadians across the country, to once again strive for the finish line that was Terry’s ultimate goal – to find a cure for cancer