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Terry Fox Run showing dividends

The Terry Fox Foundation has a message for the organizers and participants of this year’s Terry Fox Run for Cancer Research: it’s working.

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New treatments are available that are saving lives, and research is underway on the next generation of treatments that could have an event greater impact.

Since Terry Fox’s death in 1981, the annual run in his honour has raised more than $340 million for cancer research programs in Canada and around the world, including $18 million for 2004-05. There are currently more than 160 researchers in Canada who are funded by the Terry Fox Foundation.

This year the Terry Fox Run will take place on Sunday, Sept. 19, one of thousands of events taking place across Canada. Some 50 countries outside of Canada are also taking part, bringing the total number of participants to close to four million.

In Whistler, the Riverside RV Park and Campground will once again provide the venue for this event, with both 5 km and 10 km courses available. It takes place on the Valley Trail, heading north towards Emerald Estates to a turnaround location. Registration starts at 9 a.m. and the race gets underway at 10 a.m.

Once again Whistler Fire Services will be raising money by running the 5 km loop in their firefighting gear. Members of the RCMP will also be running in their uniforms.

Terry Fox was just 18 when he was diagnosed with a form of bone cancer, and was forced to have his right leg amputated above the knee. While in the hospital, he was so touched by the suffering of other cancer patients, many of them children, that he decided he would do something to help.

On April 12, 1980, Terry Fox dipped his artificial leg in the Atlantic Ocean, and began running a cross-Canada journey he called the Marathon of Hope. His humble goal was to raise $1 from every person in Canada, and use the money for cancer research.

Running the equivalent of a marathon each and every day, Fox was at last forced to give up his run outside of Thunder Bay, Ontario, after a cancer had appeared in his lungs. He had been on the road for 143 days and had travelled an astonishing 5,373 kilometres.

He passed away just a few months later, on June 28, 1981 at age 22.

He died, however, knowing that his legacy would continue. Determined to preserve his legacy, inspired Canadians held their first Terry Fox Run that fall. The first event attracted more than 300,000 participants and raised $3.5 million. Events now raise $20 million or more each year.

More information on the Terry Fox Foundation and the Terry Fox Run is available at www.terryfoxrun.org. Pledge sheets are available.

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