Every year in September, Terry Fox runs take place in over 9,000 communities across Canada.
In the Okanagan, several communities are participating in the fundraiser, including Lake Country, Merritt, Penticton, Osoyoos and Kelowna.
The Kelowna run has a special guest this year – Darrell Fox, Terry’s younger brother.
“I was lucky enough to be there in 1980 and I witnessed a miracle,” Darrell said. “Here I am, 38 years removed from the Marathon of Hope and sharing that story of what it was like to be there and witness Terry run 42 kilometres every day on an artificial leg.”
Darrell has been participating annually in the run for almost four decades. He does it to celebrate his brother’s legacy.
“He saw the suffering of others, and that’s what prompted him to want to run across the country,” Darrell said. “He wanted to make a difference and he realized at that time that very little funding was going to cancer research.”
Norm Sabourin has been a run organizer in Kelowna for three years. He is hoping for about 700 people to come out and participate.
“Terry Fox is a Canadian hero,” Sabourin said. “The example he set is one that I think we should all emulate. One person can make a difference. His dream of a cure for cancer is huge to me. Can you imagine running a marathon a day for 143 days in a row? Elite athletes couldn’t do it. Terry did it somehow.”
Rom Houtstra is a cancer survivor participating in the Kelowna run.
About two and a half years ago, Houtstra went for a regular checkup and, through the diligence of his family doctor, found out he had prostate cancer.
“It’s an eye opener. Every day when you wake up, you face life very differently,” Houtstra said. “You really have to live the day every day, every minute.”
Houtstra encourages everyone to get regular checkups, as he had no symptoms prior to his diagnosis.
Another run participant, Lisa Worman, went through the heartache of her husband’s cancer diagnosis when he was 34. A couple of years later, Woman herself was diagnosed at the exact same age.
“We come to represent Terry and to show that we’re here because of the progress of cancer research,” Worman said, before breaking down in tears. “But I’ve also lost friends and my mom so we need to know more.”
The event is completely run by volunteers and all items have been donated by the community, which means 100 per cent of funds raised go directly toward cancer research.
Event organizers are hoping to raise $35,000.
For those who missed the run and want to get involved, an online donation can be made.