About 200 people took to the streets of North Delta on Sunday to commemorate the 37th anniversary of Terry Fox’s Marathon of Hope.
The forecasted rain held off long enough for participants to warm up with a quick Zumba class before running, walking or biking to help raise awareness, raising $7,000 for cancer research in the process.
“Terry Fox believed that every person could make a different in their efforts to conquer cancer. This is our collective contribution to celebrate the incredible work being performed through cancer research,” said event MC Len Stroh, invoking the run’s theme: Today’s the day it all begins.
“It’s emblematic of Terry’s hopeful dream of finding a cure for cancer, and I can assure you that to this day it has neither faded, nor will it ever die.”
This year marks the North Delta run’s 20th anniversary, and Stroh said the event has generated approximately $200,000 in the past 14 years.
Since Fox’s Marathon of Hope in 1980, annual runs commemorating his efforts have raised $750 million worldwide, with 84 per cent going directly to cancer research. Runs currently take place in approximately 160 communities across B.C.
Mayor Lois Jackson, former DPD chief Jim Cessford and Delta School Board vice-chair Val Windsor (on behalf of Delta MP Carla Qualtrough, who could not attend) all spoke to the crowd, relating their own experiences with cancer and thanking everyone for helping to one day make the disease a thing thing of the past.
“All of us that are here have been touched in some way by that dreadful disease. I too have had a family that has been very devastated by cancer,” said Jackson, who lost her daughter on New Year’s Day, 2009, and both her sister-in-law and brother-in-law later that year.
“You know, we all have family and friends that we remember and that’s why we do what we do. That’s what makes Delta … very special, because we do care, we remember, we do want to help to break the cycle of this terrible disease.”
Cessford, who just last year was diagnosed with throat cancer and whose daughter beat cancer after she was diagnosed in 1986 with T-cell leukemia at 19-months old, gave the day’s keynote address.
“I can speak from experience and say that being told that you or a member of your family has cancer is a horrible experience. This is an experience I certainly will never forget,” Cessford said. “I would bet that everyone of us here today has been touched in some way by cancer. We need to raise money for cancer education and research because we need to beat this terrible disease.
“Today, we should celebrate Terry’s success, mourn his loss, and commit to carrying on with Terry’s Marathon of Hope. Together we can beat cancer, but it has to be a concerted effort.”