By: Deb Robert
A young man traverses the highway, striding with an unwieldy double step and hop. His right leg, crippled by cancer and now a mere stump, is attached to a prosthesis fitted with a battered Adidas shoe.
It was 1980 when Terry Fox shook a nation awake. With his sweeping Marathon of Hope to end cancer, Terry ran an astonishing 143 consecutive days in a heartfelt crusade which quickly became every Canadian’s journey.
Mile by mile, Terry held steadfast until his cancer spread and, in Thunder Bay, his journey came to an end. Overlooking Lake Superior stands a towering memorial, vividly capturing Terry in running stance, brimming with his essence – humble, hopeful, relentless, forever pushing forward.
To this day, we hold Terry’s memory tight to our hearts. On September 15th, his formidable quest carries on with The Georgina Terry Fox Run. Organizer Laurie Pangman-Carriere has put out a call for volunteers and registrants for the North Gwillimbury Park event. The goal is to fill the park and ensure the ideals of Terry Fox live on.
Participants of all ages can trek 1K, 5K or 10K courses – saunter, dash, or cross the course by bike, wheelchair, skateboard, or stroller. Laurie, part of the local organizing family with husband Mike and daughter Crystal, is immensely proud of volunteers, sponsors and marathon participants. “We get tremendous support and are truly thankful beyond words.”
Leading off the run are crowd favourites Bruce Etherington on bagpipes and Sutton Legion Color Flag Party. Festivities include games, music, selfie station, and Ken Hackenbrook’s history boards depicting Georgina’s enduring commitment to the run. Keswick Quick Pizza, Cakes by Jez, and Homestead Orchards are among devoted supporters. “We have incredible local businesses that I can’t do without,” says Laurie. “They are the Terry Fox run. I just organize it.”
As a child, Laurie was deeply impacted by Terry Fox. “I remember when we heard about this amazing kid that had one leg who was going to run across Canada and raise tons of money to save everyone with cancer, including my Dad. I couldn’t wait until he started,” recalls Laurie. Her dad passed just prior to Terry’s run but the courage of both men is a constant inspiration.
Laurie acknowledges some people are desensitized to the cancer cause. “I know we don’t have a cure for all cancers yet but we’ve made tremendous strides. It’s mind-boggling to compare my father’s treatments in the 1970s which were almost barbaric in comparison to today. If he had cancer now, chances are he’d live longer and survive.”
Laurie’s faith in Georgina’s Terry Fox Run never wavers. “I do believe wholeheartedly that there is a cure. For now, this is the only way that we can outrun cancer.”
Imagine what we can do together, in his footsteps.
Register online for the Georgina Terry Fox Run: Sunday, September 15, 2019. On-stie registration opens 8:30 am, Walk/Run/Roll begins at 10 am. North Gwillimbury Park – 775 Lake Dr. Roches Point. Volunteers Welcome. Contact Laurie at Mikeirual@hotmail.com subject line GTFR Volunteer. Donations: https://fundraise.terryfox.org/georgina