This year, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Canadians will unite in spirit, not in person, for their own version of the annual Terry Fox Run on Sunday, September 20, 2020, dubbed, “One Day. Your Way.”
Speaking with The Central Peace Signal, Christie Krawchuk, Community and Events Co-Ordinator of The Terry Fox Foundation, said the foundation is calling on anyone interested in becoming a run organizer in Spirit River and area.
Below is also an interview with Terry’s older brother Fred.
This year it is the 40th Annual Terry Fox Run. Terry was quoted on your website as saying: “I’ve said to people before that I’m going to do my very best to make it. I’m not going to give up. But I might not make it . . . if I don’t, the Marathon of Hope better continue.” Did any of you expect it to still be going strong after so many years and that the Terry Fox Run is held in so many countries?
I don’t think anyone thought after Terry passed away or after the first Terry Fox Runs in the early 80s that the Terry Fox Run and Terry’s legacy would continue like it has. People actually said to our Mom and Dad in the early years that the attention won’t last – people will forget.
Why do you think Terry had this impact?
I think because of how Terry presented himself. People realized and saw that he wasn’t running the Marathon of Hope in 1980 for himself – not to benefit from it in anyway, not to become rich or famous. Terry’s work ethic, sacrifice and example of determination has had an impact still today on people’s support.
What would you like to tell students today about who Terry Fox was and why they run each year in his memory?
I tell students all the time when I travel to schools in Alberta and across Canada that Terry was just an average kid. He was not the best athlete or student in class. Terry had to work harder than most his age to overcome the challenges he faced. When Terry was diagnosed with cancer, this was another challenge for him to beat. He realized that it was important to help others. He wanted to make a difference. Students participate in their Terry Fox Run each year to continue what Terry started.
In light of COVID-19, many Terry Fox runs will be held virtually this year. How will that work?
The Terry Fox Foundation’s No. 1 priority during this time of uncertainty is the health and safety of our volunteers, participants and staff. So, when we were faced with the decision of what to do in regards to our community Terry Fox Runs across Canada, we decided not to cancel the Run but create a virtual event – The 2020 Virtual Terry Fox Run – One Day. Your Way. We are still encouraging people to go out and do their Terry Fox run/walk like they have always done but not at the same park or community centre, but maybe starting from their front door or a favourite spot in the community joining those in their personal social bubble. It’s still important to raise funds for cancer research. That’s what Terry wanted. So you can challenge friends and family to go a bit further than you have before.
What is involved at your end in organizing the Terry Fox run each year? Is organizing it this year tougher?
We have amazing volunteers and supporters involved with the Terry Fox Run. When the pandemic hit, and it was obvious early on how things were going, it was our passionate and committed supporters who were asking what will be happening in September. They still wanted to do their part. Each year, even without COVID-19, it’s a busy time working on all of the plans in supporting our volunteers and staff in making the Terry Fox Run a success. This year, it’s a clean slate. We are learning everyday, and we need our volunteers and participants more than ever. It’s the 40th anniversary, and so many are ready and working hard to make The Terry Fox Run a success in a different year.
What sets the Terry Fox Foundation apart from other foundations?
It’s Terry. Terry Fox sets us apart from any other similar organization. 40 years after Terry’s Marathon of Hope, Terry’s principles and values still guide us in everything we do. Terry appreciated the support he received from businesses to get him across Canada, but he wouldn’t be used to promote specific products. He felt if companies wanted to be involved they would do it for all of the right reasons. We follow that today. We have lots of companies involved in a number of ways, and they appreciate that The Terry Fox Foundation doesn’t have an official corporate sponsor connected to the Terry Fox name.
Can you tell us a bit more about the Terry Fox Research Institute?
The Terry Fox Research Institute (TFRI) was created by The Terry Fox Foundation in 2007. The funds that The Terry Fox Foundation raises from community and school Terry Fox Runs as well as other fundraising initiatives goes to TFRI. TFRI invests in the best collaborative cancer research teams and partnerships. TFRI is working to inspire the transformation of cancer research in Canada by bringing together leading cancer researchers.
Why is 2020 a special year for the Terry Fox Research Institute?
As well as joining us in celebrating the 40th anniversary of Terry’s Marathon of Hope and the Terry Fox Run, in 2020 The Terry Fox Research Institute, along with The Terry Fox Foundation and other industry partners, are working to create the Marathon of Hope Cancers Centres (MOHCC). In 2019, the federal government committed $150 million over five years to create the MOHCC network. The network, which is led by TFRI, will unite cancer centres across Canada for the first time, accelerating the implementation of precision medicine so that Canadian cancer patients can access the right treatment at the right time for their particular cancer, no matter where they live.
Can you leave us with your favourite Terry Fox quote and tell us why.
I actually have my favourite Terry quote on the back of my business card. It’s:
“…everybody seems to have given up hope of trying. I haven’t. It isn’t easy and it isn’t supposed to be, but I’m accomplishing something. How many people give up a lot to do something good?”
I’ve always liked this quote because it displays many of the character traits that moved Terry to run across Canada. Terry was running to give hope to those with cancer. Terry was always working to try his best, which right now really connects to our #TryLikeTerry campaign. Terry believed if you wanted something, it wasn’t always going to be easy, that sometimes it’s going to be difficult and uncomfortable to achieve your goals. Terry truly wanted to make a difference to help others. He wanted to do something good.