Terry Fox’s journey is more than a story.
That’s why thousands of Canadians unite every year to raise money for the Terry Fox Foundation. One such Canadian is Red Deer’s Patricia Terlaan, who has been participating in the local event for several years.
Growing up, Terlaan remembers watching and reading about Fox and his goal of running across Canada.
“Terry Fox was my age. It always reverberated with me that this was a young man who sacrificed his life, and nobody at that time was doing anything like this, so it always made a lot of sense to me,” said Terlaan.
Sunday, she walked 10 kilometre alongside her friend, Red Deer County resident Robyn Brodie.
Although it was Brodie’s first time taking part in the event, she said she has sponsored friends and family in the past.
Terlaan still remembers Terry Fox on the news every night, adding “it was devastating for a lot of people when he died.”
It is a memory the two friends share. Brodie said she was a new resident of Canada during that time and remembers it all.
“He was on every night and he created so much awareness, and I remember everybody was so sad when he passed away,” Brodie said, adding she admired his courage.
Raising money to fight cancer is a cause special to Terlaan, because her mom is a cancer survivor.
What Terlaan likes about the event is 82 per cent of the money raised goes toward research.
“And not into administration, and not into supporting other things besides the actual goal,” she said.
Brodie said she wanted to participate in the event to help it succeed.
“If nobody came out to these events, it would fall away, so you want to keep it going,” said Brodie.
The two friends believe in keeping Terry Fox and his memory alive today, and said events like the run help with that.
The two also like the fact children learn about him right from the start in schools.
Terlaan said not everyone today understands and appreciates his achievements.
“It’s like my parents went through World War Two, and kids these days just think of it as a story, and it’s what it is fading into – just a story,” she said.
She encourages Canadians to visit the Terry Fox memorial near Thunder Bay, Ont., something she has done with her husband.
“We saw the memorial, and for kids, it was a hit. They have to see it, because the memorial is very impactful, and when you see it, you do choke up,” Terlaan said.
Lori Hutchings, a co-organizer of Red Deer’s Terry Fox Run, said the event is in its 39th year.
She said people like the fact the event is volunteer driven, which means administration costs are low.
Hutchings said the friendly run raises around $10,000 each year.
Participants had the choice to walk, run or bike on marked routes of one, 2.5, five and 10 kilometres.