Tuesday, September 22, 2015


The Terry Fox Run-2015


It was thirty-five years ago when hoards of people started participating in what is known as the “Terry Fox Run”. I was there on that occasion. In fact, I pushed a stroller around the course that day, and on several other runs. I have traveled the course with two dogs, and I remember dragging Loki, the Bouvier des Flandres, over the finish line.



But I have not always been faithful to the Terry Fox Run. There is an element of guilt here. Occasionally, I was far away from a site, once in Australia, a couple of times in Europe. I did a walk for Terry’s cause when I was away, admittedly half-heartedly.



Last Sunday, I rolled into the parking lot in Belleville at West Zwick’s Park. I was a little early, and there were very few vehicles on the lot. My heart sunk a little as I murmured to myself, “Oh no, the spirit is gone. Nobody cares about this. It has gone to way of all good things.”



I walked to the bandshell and discovered several people there in bright green shirts, with “Volunteer” written on the backs of their shirts. That was a good sign, but it did not mean that the “Run” would be a success. There were hot dogs on the grill, hot coffee and tea, cold drinks, snacks for energy and the ever-present Hawkins Cheezies!



I mention this product in particular, because the Cheezies’ plant manager 35 years ago, Shirley Woodcox, was a driving force behind the inaugural Terry Fox Run. She spent a good deal of time with him, and paved the way for some of his success. He began his journey on the East Coast, and traveled through the Maritimes and Quebec without a great deal of fanfare, and had difficulty raising funds. The momentum began in Ontario, and built until he ended his journey at Thunder Bay. The journey was called “The Marathon of Hope”


                     Vicki Samaras, Ms. Bertelink, Wally Sawkins,  Mayor Taso Christopher 


Belleville’s mayor, Taso Christopher was on hand to thank the volunteers at the site. In particular, he had high praise for Vicki Samaras. She is the President and a partner in the Hinterland Wine Company. She knows how to get things done.



In 2012, she got geared up for the “Run” at Zwick’s Park. When she arrived at the site, she was told that run had been cancelled. To Vicki, that was completely unacceptable. The legacy that Terry had left us could not be tossed along the wayside by a cancellation. That provided the impetus for her to gather the troops to continue the fight against cancer.



Christopher told the gathering that he had watched the movie about Terry’s life the previous evening. He became emotional when talking about the movie. If you have not seen it, it really is a must. It shows Terry Fox as a human being, as a young very driven individual trying to make a difference.



And what a difference he has made! At last report, almost $ 700 million dollars has been raised to eradicate cancer as a result of his efforts. The “Run” in Belleville was well attended with almost 300 participants, raising almost $ 30 000. Online pledges are still being accepted.



I was really impressed with the Woodley family. Young and old, they gathered for the journey-26 of them. As is the case with many of us, we reflect on lives lost to that despicable disease as we strolled around the park. Volunteers cheered on our efforts. At ten o’clock in the morning, I tore into a fine hot dog from the Agrarian. No serious repercussions.



That being said, to you I throw the torch to do what you can next year in this great pursuit. My old knees were not up to a run. I strolled the route casually with my friend Wayne Baker, a long-time supporter of the cause, and a survivor. You could tell by the smile on his face that it meant a great deal to him. See you there next year!



James Hurst

September 22, 2015.


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