The Terry Fox Run is set to return to Abu Dhabi once again for its 40th anniversary.
The inclusive event is held every year to celebrate the legacy of Canadian philanthropist Terry Fox, who, after being diagnosed with cancer in 1980, decided to run across the whole of his native land in aid of cancer research.
This year, as always, thousands of people are expected to sign up to take part in the event on March 20.
People of all ages and abilities are invited to take part to walk, wheel ride or run a 5km or 10km distance, all in aid of cancer research.
Plus, there is no entry fee, no minimum pledge and it has a non-competitive atmosphere. Donations are encouraged through T-shirt sales or monetary donations to the Terry Fox Foundation to help fund cancer research and support people in need.
Ahead of the landmark run in Abu Dhabi, we catch up with Terry’s brother Fred Fox to discuss the growth of the event, its significance and the legacy of his brother.
How impressed are you with how Abu Dhabi has got behind the Terry Fox Run?
I was in Abu Dhabi for the 2015 Terry Fox Run and I was extremely impressed with how the event was organised how people in the community support Terry’s legacy. Unfortunately most of us have some kind of connection to cancer, but as a result it brings people together in aid of cancer research.
This is a run that anyone can get involved in, why should people take part?
The Terry Fox Run isn’t a competitive running event. The reason its call a “run” is because that’s what Terry was doing when he did his Marathon of Hope in 1980. As an amputee, Terry wanted people to know, we were running, not walking or hopping. To participate, we encourage people to walk, run, bring their children, push a stroller... It’s all about taking part.
How much of an impact can individuals make by taking part and making donations?
Those who participate have a huge impact on cancer research. Terry was running across Canada and raising money for research because he wanted to improve the outcomes of a cancer diagnosis. That can only happen with donations.
It’s the 40th anniversary this year, can you reflect on the past four decades and how you’d like things to develop in the next few years?
Terry’s legacy the past 40 years has been very impactful. People of all ages, from the very young to much older continue to work hard, participate and raise funds for cancer research. What Terry started in 1980 has changed the focus on cancer research. In the years to come because of the funds raised in Terry’s name we look forward to seeing the adoption of precision medicine and bringing researchers together to share their findings and data to improve the outcomes for cancer patients. Through the Terry Fox Run and the funds raised by those who participate, there has been a significant impact on where cancer research is today. Each person that participates in a Terry Fox Run is responsible for that. Without the people who have participated in a Terry Fox Run each year, who knows where research would be today.
What is the message behind the Terry Fox Run for those who are unfamiliar with it?
As mentioned earlier, the Terry Fox Run is a fun, non-competitive, family event. In part, it’s about celebrating the effort of a young Canadian kid who selfessly made a significant sacrifice to make a difference in the lives of others. It’s also about participating because of someone you know who has been touched by cancer. Terry showed that one person can make a difference and those who take part in the Terry Fox Run continue his dream. I guess the most important take away from the Terry Fox Run is those who participate are making a difference for cancer research and to those with a cancer diagnosis. The Terry Fox Run brings individuals from different backgrounds together as a community, working for a common goal. Terry wanted to help others and this event encourages others to do the same.
What can people do to help raise funds and make a difference if they can’t make the event?
Its easy, people who aren’t able to participate in a Terry Fox Run can go to The Terry Fox Foundation website and make a donation, or create their own fundraising page and get family & friends to support their efforts.
Free (registration is needed). Mar 20. Abu Dhabi Corniche, www.terryfox.org/international-runs/abudhabi/.