Passionate volunteer calls for local support of Terry Fox events

·4 min read

As Don Chapman said recently, “We’ve got the best brand in the world. Nobody that I know of badmouths Terry Fox.”

Chapman is the spokesperson and key contact of 20 volunteers, himself included, associated with Terry Fox in the Heart of Georgian Bay.

Over the past few months, Chapman had approached the four North Simcoe municipal councils of Midland, Penetanguishene, and Tay and Tiny Townships with the same request: to participate, to donate, and to encourage others to get involved in Terry Fox Day on Sept. 18.

Since Terry Fox ran for cancer research in 1980, over $850 million has been raised by the Terry Fox Foundation in annual events commemorating the courage and bravery of the national icon.

I’m Not A Quitter is the theme for 2022, and Chapman presented this year’s pitch to the councils.

“In 1980 Terry said, ‘Nobody is ever going to call me a quitter.’ He never quit on his dream – and neither will we,” said Chapman. “That man, that hero, ran over 3,000 miles and ran a marathon a day doing it on one good leg. Is that the mark of a quitter? Absolutely not.”

Due to COVID-19 and health protocols regarding social distancing, the local income raised in 2020 was $87,000. A strategy for smaller donations from more people, as well as individual fundraising challenges that could be completed on a minimal scale, resulted in the organization raising $104,000 in 2021; ranked 16th in Ontario and the best result for the municipalities since 2006.

Chapman told the councils that the strategy this year would continue to be aimed at “asking a little from a lot,” but that a return to big parties and events had been mandated nationwide.

In North Simcoe, the 2022 Terry Fox Run will be held at Perkinsfield Park located at 43 County Road 6 in Tiny.

Already, the volunteers have made their presence known at several parades and festivals locally, where they have t-shirts for sale advertising the charity. Boot drives from firefighters will allow for donations via cash or card through a tap option.

“Nobody makes money off Terry but the Foundation,” assured Chapman, who noted that only money going to administration and overhead of 21 per cent is taken from the total donations, with the remaining 79 per cent issued directly to researchers. “No fee, no minimum contribution, no cost… everything is donated.”

Council members across the municipalities praised Chapman and his efforts with the promotion.

It was the first such presentation viewed by Tiny Coun. John Bryant, who thanked Chapman. “You speak so passionately about this issue; you touched my heart.”

Coun. Mary Warnock of Tay said to the public, “If you haven’t been, you should go. It is a very emotional day, and when everyone comes together and the numbers that they get out there – it’s a very special feeling.”

Midland Coun. Jonathan Main complimented Chapman on his “infectious positivity” while Deputy Mayor Mike Ross appreciated the out-of-the-box flexibility of past events through the difficulty of a pandemic.

Coun. Brian Cummings of Penetanguishene told Chapman, “I had the opportunity to meet Terry when he walked through Oakville, and I experienced and felt his drive – his motivation – for a cause he really felt he could beat. (With my whole family) being involved in the Cancer Society (of Canada) at that time, we just felt that energy that came from him; and I feel that same energy coming from you.”

MidlandToday asked Chapman through email what impact he was expecting to receive by delivering the presentation to the North Simcoe councils.

“As key influencers and leaders of our community,” Chapman replied, “I hope they will encourage others to get involved. I also hope they will continue to support our requests for goods and services which enable us to send all donated revenues we generate to our Foundation.

“I also believe that we can build a more cohesive community by sharing ideas and programs like this across our municipalities,” he added.

Archives of Chapman’s council presentations for the Terry Fox in the Heart of Georgian Bay are available on the Midland, Penetanguishene, and Tiny Township municipality YouTube channels.

For more information about the Terry Fox Foundation, visit www.terryfox.org

Derek Howard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, MidlandToday.ca

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