40 years after Terry Fox’s Marathon of Hope, the tradition continues.
This year’s Terry Fox Run, like many other fundraising events, will be taking place virtually. North Bay’s run usually has people run, walk, hike or bike along the waterfront on a five or 10-kilometre route. Participants would normally be able to congregate, buy T-shirts, get stickers – generally celebrate the festivities of a longstanding tradition.
But this year is hardly normal.
Carla Tucker, Community Organizer of the North Bay Terry Fox Run, says that this year’s virtual run will feature a mobile app for participants to download.
“It has created an online community of who’s done their walks, who’s prepping and who’s going,” Tucker says.
The app, which is currently available for download, will connect to the user’s smartphone or smart device’s GPS tracking system. The app will allow participants from around the world to connect with one another, take part in training challenges and track mileage on the day of the actual run.
Tucker says that she will also be looking to engage the community on social media.
“Our Facebook page is very active so I’m asking people to send us pictures, send us notes, send us messages that we can then share with the rest of the city,” Tucker said, hoping to recreate the sense of community brought on by the run.
North Bay has been participating in the Terry Fox Run since 1985. Tucker says that the community has a history of strong support for the cause.
“I think we do our very best to get out there and honour that legacy. And this year especially it’s the 40th anniversary. It sucks a little bit that we’re not celebrating the way we’d like to. But this year more than ever we need to continue to raise those funds,” she said.
Researchers at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre in Toronto – which is funded by the Terry Fox Foundation – have made breakthroughs that show promise in developing a drug to treat prostate cancer. In a media release from the foundation, Dr. Matthew Lupien, a senior researcher at the cancer centre, says “we are exploring uncharted territory” with the discovery.
Tucker says discoveries like this demonstrate that the funds raised by the run every year are making an impact.
“Ultimately, we are making huge steps towards curing cancer but we’re not there yet. That was Terry’s goal and it’s become our goal. There are still people affected by it so we’re going to keep walking,” Tucker said.
The Terry Fox Run will be on September 20, and participants are being asked to share their run on social media. Tucker says that she is working on setting up some form of an in-person hub in the city where participants can get stickers and their certificates of participation, but working through the logistical challenges of COVID-19.
Those who wish to participate in the run can visit terryfox.org, where the new app will be available in addition to fundraising details.