It's the largest Terry Fox Run in the City of Vancouver, and organized by the Four Seasons Hotel management. I hadn't run it in a few years. That year, Darrell Fox (Terry's younger brother) did the 10 km run finishing 1st. One time, I attended with Terry's older brother in 94, and we both said a few words to the crowd.
I am a Terry's Team member, a cancer survivor who serves as a living example that cancer research has helped to make a difference. Darrell Fox invited me to be a member of Terry's Team in 1993. That year I spoke and ran at Terry Fox Run in Burnaby in September, and also in Beijing in October.
Prior to the start, I was chatting with my friend Bruce Clark who ran in his kilt. We met a runner from Ontario who was working in Vancouver temporarily. He was excited about running in Vancouver. I shared with him, that I try to run at a different run site each year. Last year I was at Richmond BC. I am wearing the 2005 25th Anniversary Terry Fox Run shirt – it's one of my favorites with the map of Eastern Canada across the front and back of the shirt, detailing Terry's Run from Newfoundland to Thunder Bay.
It was in June 1989, that I faced a serious cancer tumor behind my breast bone. The doctors called it a germ cell tumor and it was as big as a large grapefruit. It was displacing my vital organs – pushing on my lungs and heart. I was very weak. After weeks of misdiagnosis I was admitted to Lions Gate Hospital for emergency chemotherapy, where they gave me a 60% chance to live with treatment. Without treatment I would die. I think I was in the hospital for a month, before they let me go home on weekends. The doctors later told me that if I hadn't had treatment, I would have suffocated, because the tumor had put so much pressure on my lungs that they were already half full of fluid.
I have attended Terry Fox Runs every year since 1993, at different run sites throughout Vancouver's Lower Mainland including: North Vancouver, West Vancouver, Burnaby, Richmond, North Delta and Coquitlam. Each year, I also speak at Elementary Schools. Sometimes I speak to classes and usually it is to a school assembly in a gymnasium. I share with the children that cancer research does help to save lives. I tell them stories about the people I have met, such as Terry's family, his basketball coach, his wheelchair volleyball coach, his university friends and fellow students.
I never met Terry Fox, but I feel that I know him through his friends and family, the many stories, films and books about him. Courage is the word that is often used to describe Terry. He was a hero, because he attempted something incredible that had never been done before – to run across Canada on one leg. On my wall, hangs the plaque and certificate for the Simon Fraser University Terry Fox Award that I received in 1993. Terry's words are inscribed.”Dreams are made when people try.”
After Bruce and I finished the 3km run (we didn't do the 10km run), we had some water and juice. Then we cheered on runners crossing the finish line. It was a lot of fun, as many of the runners and walkers were smiling. Some were pushing baby strollers. Some were walking dogs. Some said it was their first time participating. Some gave us high-5's. It was great to create some excitement and smiles by thanking them for participating, and clapping our hands for them.
Read my Terry Fox related stories here:
Read my stories about my cancer diagnosis and survival: