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Terry Fox Run this weekend

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Marathon of Hope continues 22 years later

What : Terry Fox Run

Where : Riverside Campground

When: Sunday, Sept. 14, 10 a.m. start

Everyone has their own reasons for participating in the Terry Fox Run.

According to the Canadian Cancer Society, approximately 38 per cent of women and 41 per cent of men will develop some form of cancer in their lifetime if current incidence rates continue. Cancer continues to be the leading cause of premature death in Canada.

Still, there’s hope. Research into prevention and treatment has progressed significantly in the past few decades, with Canadian researchers at the forefront of the battle. Since 1988 the death rate for all cancers for men has declined 12 per cent, and 13 per cent among women.

Although there are many reasons to be hopeful that new treatments and even cures might be found to treat this disease, at least part of the credit has to go to a courageous Vancouver man by the name of Terry Fox.

Terry Fox was just 18 when he was diagnosed with a form of bone cancer, and had 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 a marathon each and every day, Fox was at last forced to give up his run outside of Thunder Bay, Ontario, after a cancer appeared in his lungs. He had been on the road for 143 days and had travelled an astonishing 5,373 kilometres.

He passed away 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.

Twenty-two years later the event is held annually in 48 countries, and has raised more than $300 million for cancer research.

Whistler is just one of thousands of towns in Canada hosting a Terry Fox run on Sept. 14, but every person involved is important to the cause say organizers.

Registration for this year’s event gets underway at Riverside Campground at 9 a.m. The run starts at 10 a.m.

The event is open to runners, walkers, and others, and people can do either a 5 km or 10 km route.

Although the Terry Fox run welcomes spectators and people who want to cheer on the runners, you might want to bring a camera this year, as members of Whistler Fire Services will be running the 5 km route in full fire fighting gear, from boots to helmet.

For more information or to volunteer for the race, contact Joanne or Bernd at 604-938-4225.

Pemberton is also holding a Terry Fox run at the Pemberton Airport Campground from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. This event is billed as a family event, encouraging participants to run, walk, bike, inline skate and roll the course.

Registration will be available at the site, and pledge forms will be available at the Pemberton Library or Bank of Nova Scotia.

For more information call Diane or Richard Hartl at 604-894-5357.

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