Two towns, one cause: Terry Fox Run marks milestone
|By Mark Arike - Staff Writer | September 9, 2015
It's a special year for the Terry Fox Run.
Thirty-five years ago, Fox dipped his artificial leg into the Atlantic Ocean and embarked on the Marathon of Hope. The Manitoba native ran 5,375 kilometres over the course of 143 days before cancer spread to his lungs, forcing him to bow out of his cross-Canada fundraiser for cancer research awareness.
On June 28, 1981, the iconic Canadian figure passed away just one month shy of his 23rd birthday.
Since his passing, over $650 million has been raised worldwide for cancer research.
Over the years, the Haliburton Highlands has contributed to that pot of money by participating in the annual Terry Fox Run. The two communities of Haliburton and Minden have raised an astounding $363,000 for the Terry Fox Foundation.
And on Sept. 20, both towns will once again rally around this worthwhile cause.
A participant of the event and now coordinator of the Haliburton run, Jennifer Button strongly believes in the cause.
"I've participated in the Terry Fox Run in the past, and just love what it represents," said Button, who became the event organizer following Walter Tose's departure from the role. "I didn't want to see it disappear from the community.”
The event got its start in 1982. Since then, it has raised $131,000.
One of Button's main goals is to encourage more participation in the run.
"I just wanted to see what we could do to bring more people out," she said.
In an effort to achieve this, a one-kilometre children's run has been added as well as an optional 10-kilometre relay.
"The father can do the five kilometres and then tag in mom, and then she does the second five kilometres. Then someone's watching the kids all the time," she explained.
The kids' run will take place in Head Lake Park.
Another new element, said Button, is that local businesses have been challenged to enter teams. Businesses can also sponsor a kilometre of the run route.
Her fundraising goal for this year is $5,000.
"Last year, we were just over $4,000 with 100 participants.”
In Minden, Diane Peacock has been organizing the run for the past nine years, but has been involved as a volunteer for 15 years.
Cancer is something that has affected Peacock's friends and loved ones. Her great-niece was diagnosed with kidney cancer at nine months old but has been cancer-free for the past seven years.
"It's an important cause," said Peacock.
Another reason she supports the run is because of how the funds are distributed—84 cents of every dollar goes directly to cancer research.
Over the past 21 years, Minden has raised just over $232,000.
"It's grown," she said, pointing out that a silent auction was added to the event five years ago.
All the funds raised by way of the auction are donated to the foundation in memory of the late Dawson Hamilton, who lost his battle to leukemia at the age of nine.
"We've raised almost $9,000 in five years for him," she said.
The Minden event will also feature live entertainment, face painting and a barbecue. Jack Brezina will serve as the emcee of the festivities.
About 70 volunteers are involved in making the run possible.
Peacock pointed out that Sept. 20 will also be celebrated as Terry Fox Day across the province.
"The province passed a bill on June 3 to declare the second Sunday after Labour Day as Terry Fox Day in the province. We're one of three provinces that have proclaimed that day now.”
Participants can choose from a one-kilometre, five-kilometre or 10-kilometre route.
Registration for the Minden event starts at 9 a.m. at the Minden Community Centre.
In Haliburton, the kids' run starts at 11:30 a.m. while the five-kilometre and 10-kilometre runs start at noon. Participants are encouraged to arrive at the town dock by 11 a.m. to register.
No minimum donation is required to enter either event.
For more information about the Minden event call Peacock at 705-286-4914 or email email@example.com. For Haliburton, call Button at 705-457-0822 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
MARK ARIKE is a reporter for The Highlander.