It was truly a privilege to serve as the emcee for the 35th Anniversary of the Terry Fox, Marathon of Hope in Oak Ridges. I was asked by Glemena Bettencourt, also known as THE Terry Foxer, having spent a month with Terry and also becoming friends with his family. Glemena has kept her promise to Terry, to continue his journey and to share his words and memory with others across Canada.
What was equally important, was having my family with me for the event. My daughter, Arden is a competitive cheerleader and flag football player. My husband, Mike is a half marathon runner and also has prostate cancer. He lost both his father and brother to lung and brain cancer. We have participated in the run/walk in their honour for the last 5 years.
The day started off as a stormy Saturday, in which the clouds parted just before the event was to begin. I shared this was Terry’s doing, allowing the participants to have a bright and clear pathway.
We chanted our determination would not be dampened by any rain! Our courage would remain strong! Our commitment would not change - pending any weather changes!
At 21 years old Terry ran 5,373 kilometers for 143 days which equates to a full marathon every day!
Famed Richmond Hill resident, two times Olympic winner and three-time world champion, Elvis Stojko, cut the ribbon to begin the race. He shared how he used to ride his dirt bikes in this community and now he inspires others in his backyard with his passion, purpose and healthy lifestyle.
The Canadian band, The Derek Christie Band, entertained the crowd and played their amazing tribute to Terry Fox called, “What Makes You Run.” As the band played, there wasn’t a dry eye or a goose bump free body. The song touches the true essence of Terry’s message. Derek also shared he is a survivor of Cancer, and that the song and his participation is very personal.
Richmond Hill Councilor, Vito Spatafora, continued to set the atmosphere of inspiration, with his heartfelt speech about his own journey with prostate cancer, and encouraging men to not turn a blind eye to health and make it a priority.
“Even if I don’t finish we need others to continue. It’s got to keep going without me. “ – Terry Fox
The Terry Fox Foundation has a pledge to raise 35 million dollars this anniversary year. That equals one dollar per Canadian. To learn more about the initiative, please go to http://www.terryfox.org/
For more information on Glemena: https://www.facebook.com/glemena?fref=ts
Derek Christie Band: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q0bLdrh3ttQ