ICYMI: Local Terry Fox Runs show the power of research

Blake Ellis/Local Journalism Initiative

Jackson Mitchell is living proof of the power of cancer research.

The Grade 3 Oil Springs student was charming the crowd at the Terry Fox Run in Petrolia. The Lambton Central Elementary School students spent much of the last school year battling a brain tumor, but on Sunday, he was all smiles as he participated in the survivors walk donning a red t-shirt worn by those who have survived cancer. He helped to carry a “We are the Ribbon of Life” banner and made sure to give each survivor got a well deserved high five before the official Terry Fox Run got underway.

And there were a lot of fives to give with over 170 people either running, biking or walking the route through the streets of Petrolia Sunday.

This was the first time in two years there was an in person event, as the pandemic forced Terry Fox Run to raise money virtually. And that seems to have helped. Before the event even started, Petrolia had raised $12,000 online, said Organizer Steve McGrail. For the first time since McGrail became organizer of the Petrolia run, the community raised over $25,00. And there is more to come, says McGrail, since schools will also conduct their own Terry Fox Runs in September and they will be added to each of their community totals.

There was also a silent auction with several donated items and Terry Fox t-shirts for sale, which brought further money into the cause for cancer research.

In Alvinston, residents gathered to honour Terry Fox and those they knew who had cancer.

The Terry Fox Run in Alvinston involved a five kilometre route, which started on the arena grounds and ended at AW Campbell Conservation Area, where everyone partook in a barbecue. Runners, walkers, bikers and scooters were all welcome. About $8,000 has been raised.

Terry Fox started his Marathon of Hope in 1980 setting out on his journey to run a marathon each day in his quest to run across Canada to raise money for cancer research. His right leg was amputated in 1977 after he was diagnosed with osteosarcoma. He was fitted with an artificial leg.
Fox was forced to stop his Marathon of Hope on Sept. 1, 1980, near Thunder Bay when his cancer returned and spread to his lungs. He ended his run after 143 days and 5,373 kilometres.

He passed away in June 1981 and the first Terry Fox Run was held on Sept. 13, 1981.

The Local Journalism Initiative supports the creation of original civic journalism that covers the diverse needs of underserved communities across Canada.