North Grenville keeps Terry's dream alive

·3 min read

The Terry Fox Run has become an annual tradition all around Canada, and North Grenville is one of many communities carrying on Terry Fox's legacy this year.

Because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Terry Fox Foundation had to make the call to have the highly recognized event virtual for the second year in a row.

A local group, the Kemptville Terry Fox Run Committee, took to the municipality to ask that council declare Sept. 19, 2021 as Terry Fox Run Day and raise the flag for the cause, which was approved at the Sept. 7 council meeting.

The municipality rallies behind Terry Fox's cause, to fight cancer through the Marathon of Hope, by having the local council raise the "Terry Fox Lives Here" flag that will fly until Monday.

"As most of us know, Terry was unable to complete his run, but every year since, people all over Canada and other parts of the world have come together every fall in pursuit of carrying on Terry's dream," said Steve Paterson, representing the Kemptville Terry Fox Run Committee during the Sept. 7 council meeting.

Forty-one years ago this April 12, Terry Fox stood at the shoreline in St. John's, N.L., and dipped his prosthetic leg into the Atlantic Ocean, where he then set off on the Marathon Hope with the goal to raise funds for cancer research.

But on Sept. 1 of the same year, he started in Thunder Bay, but had to put that on pause because the cancer had returned to his lungs, said Paterson.

Last year, more than 70 individuals, teams and families in North Grenville participated during the virtual event day despite the COVID-19 pandemic; the Kemptville Terry Fox Run Committee raised a total of nearly $16,000 in the fight against cancer.

That brought the cumulative total in Kemptville to more than $280,000 raised, with a goal of reaching $300,000 this year, stated the committee's Facebook page.

A few days before the event, Kemptville had already raised $3,500, said Paterson.

"Their goal is to encourage as many people to get involved and see if they can beat last year’s total," said North Grenville Mayor Nancy Peckford.

Many members of the community are still participating in this year's event, including Mayor Peckford and Coun. Doreen O’Sullivan, who will be doing a five-kilometre walk together on Sunday morning in support of Terry's dream. Many local schools have plans for their own Terry Fox Run Day as well, but during the school week, said Peckford.

"I think Terry Fox's legacy is incredibly strong," said Peckford. "His accomplishments remain so impressive and I don't think there is a person out there who hasn't been touched by cancer."

"I think ensuring that we're investing in the research and better treatments is crucial because cancer isn't going away," added Peckford, who has seen the benefits of cancer treatments as her mother has had a nine-year battle with cancer.

The Terry Fox Run has raised more than $850 million across Canada since 1980, and has more than 650 communities participating, said the Terry Fox Foundation website.

This year's participants can still contribute to the cause their own way by walking, biking, wheeling or running, on their own time, way, distance or location that works best for them, on or around Sept. 19.

"Participants can make use of our beautiful trails in our North Grenville municipality or map out a route throughout their neighbourhood," said Paterson during the council meeting.

Those who would like to carry on Terry's legacy can register to participate in the event their own way or donate at terryfox.org.

"Everyone is encouraged to get out there and contribute any way they can," said Paterson, adding that no donation is too small.

Jessica Munro, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brockville Recorder and Times

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