After 32 years, the annual Terry Fox Run in Harbour Grace is showing no signs of running out of steam. While runs have also taken place at other sites in Conception Bay North over the years, St. Francis Field remains the only site for the Marathon of Hope in the region.
Local organizers are in the final planning stages for the fundraising event, which is set for Sunday, Sept. 16.
Maureen Robinson of Harbour Grace has been involved in organizing the Marathon of Hope for years.
Robinson said participants from all over the CBN area would be more than welcome to come to St. Francis Field Sunday to take part in the event and help out with this worthy cause.
"The whole emphasis is on individual effort," Robinson told The Compass last week. While the maximum length of the walk/run is 10 kilometres, she stressed, "how far they wish to go is left up to individual participants." She also noted, "there are no minimum pledges, no entry fees and no corporate sponsorships for the non-competitive event."
As Terry Fox himself once said: "If you give one dollar, you are part of the Marathon of Hope."
Registration will get underway at 2:30 p.m. with the walk/run to start at 3 p.m.
Some 33 participants from the Conception Bay North area walked or ran around the half-kilometre track at St. Francis Field last year, up from the 27 who took part in 2010. They helped raise approximately $1,739 for cancer research in memory of the late Terry Fox, who started it all 32 years ago with his inaugural Marathon of Hope.
Organizers hope to match or exceed that level of participation this weekend.
Harbour Grace was one of 42 communities run sites around the province where thousands of people turned out a year to help raise over $260,000 for the cause.
Robinson noted that some 84 cents out of every dollar raised from the events goes towards cancer research, some of which is taking place close to home at Memorial University in St. John's.
"Cancer survivors are living proof that cancer research is working to develop new drugs and treatment methods," she said.
Based on the most recent three-year average, to date the Terry Fox Foundation has raised over $600 million for cancer research worldwide, according to its website.
Hope and inspiration
On Sept. 1, 1980, 143 days and 5,373 kilometres from St. John's, where he had dipped his artificial leg in the Atlantic Ocean on April 12 of that year, Terry Fox was forced to abandon his cross-Canada run outside Thunder Bay, Ontario after cancer was found in his lungs.
The well-known story of Terry Fox is one of courage, determination and true grit that has inspired people across Canada and around the world to run, walk, bicycle, and push their wheelchairs and strollers to raise money for cancer research.
While his death saddened the nation, his life inspired Canadians to make sure his Marathon of Hope for a cure for the disease that had taken his own life would never die.