Annual Terry Fox Run cancelled in Abbotsford
One of the longest-standing charity events in Canada, the Terry Fox Run, has been cancelled in Abbotsford.
The 33rd annual run is scheduled to take place Sunday, Sept. 15 in cities across Canada, with dozens more runs happening than last year.
But some are having a tough time gathering volunteers – including Abbotsford.
“Despite putting a plea out to the community, we just didn’t have anybody wanting to come forward to take that lead role with us,” said Donna White, the Terry Fox Foundation’s provincial director for B.C. and the Yukon.
White said organizing the run is tough for volunteers because it’s a big commitment with no budget provided.
“It’s not just Abbotsford, there’ve been a number of communities over the years,” she said. “We haven’t had a run in Aldergrove over the last couple of years…Princeton, Oliver, some of the smaller communities.”
With only several days to go until the run, 10 other communities including Keremeos, Fruitvale and Mile Zero in Victoria are lacking run organizers, according to the foundation’s website.
Meanwhile, in eastern Canada, two runs in Ontario and two in Nova Scotia were lost.
Some are attributing the cancellations to “charity burn-out,” because so many runs are being held to support other causes.
“It is a bit disappointing,” White said. “It’s disappointing for those communities who want to come out and continue to be a part of the marathon of hope and share in Terry’s dream because truly, that’s what the day is all about.”
But communities like Sparwood are organizing 2013 Terry Fox runs, some for the first time in years, according to White. In all, four new runs have been added in B.C. – and 100 more schools are participating this year.
Nationally, the organization still appears to be strong with 9,000 schools and close to 900 communities participating in the 2013 event, while donations have held steady around the $20-million mark for the last four years
Fox lost a leg to cancer when he was 18 and three years later took up the marathon on a prosthetic limb. His distinctive, hobbling gait became a symbol of stubborn determination and courage.
He started his run in April 1980, dipping his leg in the ocean at St. John's, N.L.
The effort ended 147 days and 5,373 kilometres later outside Thunder Bay, Ont., when his cancer returned and forced him to abandon his project.
He was showered with honours. He was the youngest person ever named a companion of the Order of Canada and given the Lou Marsh Award for 1980 as the country's top athlete.
He died in June 1981 at 22 years old.
With files from CTV's Melanie Nagy and Jon Woodward