Nevan Smith who is undergoing treatment for a rare

Nevan Smith who is undergoing treatment for a rare

Annual run is inspiration for cancer patient, family

As a regular participant in Red Deer’s Terry Fox Run, Nevan Smith knows where he will be next Sunday.

As a regular participant in Red Deer’s Terry Fox Run, Nevan Smith knows where he will be next Sunday.

But it will be unlike any previous Terry Fox Run for the 19-year-old.

In June, the Red Deer university student was diagnosed with desmoplastic sarcoma, a rare and aggressive childhood cancer.

“It’s been a total shock. I’ve been healthy my whole life,” Smith said.

“I have a spot in my pelvis area, a 10-cm growth. And I have spots on my liver and on my kidney.”

His chemotherapy has already begun and treatment will continue for a year.

“It’s awful. It’s like everyone says it is. The worst part about it for me is the fatigue.”

Smith said some days are tough, but he fights through it.

“You can’t be down on the fact that you did get it.

“The support from my family and friends is unbelievable. I know that if support is there, I’ll get through it.”

Terry Fox is also an inspiration for Smith and his family who want to raise $5,000 for the Terry Fox Foundation.

Loretta Winia, Red Deer run organizer, said many people find strength in the legacy of Terry Fox.

“People get inspiration from the way he attacked the run itself, never gave up, and didn’t want to give up. They just identify with the struggle he went through,” Winia said.

Fox, who lost his right leg to cancer, ran his Marathon of Hope in 1980 with an artificial leg to raise money for cancer research.

When cancer spread to his lungs, he was forced to stop after running 5,373 km in 143 days through six provinces.

He lost his battle with cancer in 1981 at the age of 22.

Fox’s attempt to run across Canada made an impression on many in 1980 and they continue to support the run, Winia said.

“I think in Red Deer there’s a core group of people who support the run rain or shine. One of the best runs we had was a couple of years ago when it was pouring rain and it was freezing cold. They said, ‘Terry Fox did this in all kinds of weather and we will too.’”

Red Deer’s Terry Fox Run will be held from 12 to 2:30 p.m. at Heritage Ranch. Registration is 10:30 to 11:45 a.m.

A barbecue with door prizes will follow.

The 10-km run is bike, walk and dog-friendly. Participants don’t have to pre-register and there is no minimum donation or entry fee.

Last year, about 225 participants in Red Deer raised over $18,000.

For more on the Red Deer run on Sept. 16 contact Winia at or visit for information or to make donations.

Now people can also donate by texting — terryfox to 45678 — and $5.00 will be added to the user’s monthly phone bill which will be donated to the Terry Fox Foundation by the phone provider.

Also new is an app that allows iPhone and Android users to collect pledges online.

To make a donation to support Smith’s campaign to raise money for the Terry Fox Foundation go to