Joan King took on the organization of the Terry Fox run in Niagara-on-the Lake in 2007, to ensure the run continued locally.
This is the 38th anniversary of the Marathon of Hope, with the first run in town held in 1991. But in 2006 nobody stepped up to organize the event, so the next year King, a retired school teacher who lives in Queenston, decided to take it on.
“The Terry Fox run is not just raising money for cancer research but also hope, inspiration and determination. It's about remembering those we lost, supporting those who still fight and honouring those who won the fight,” said King.
This year, thanks to her efforts over the last decade and those who organized the event in its early years, a milestone was reached – the little town and its residents, with big hearts and generous pockets, had raised $600,000.
The run/ walk takes place every year on the second Sunday after Labour day, which this year falls on Sept. 16.
Registration begins at 9 a.m. at Simcoe Park, with the run beginning at 10 a.m.
Most people walk the five-kilometre route but the runners or cyclists can do it twice to make it a 10-kilometre event, says King.
And there is more to it than that – it's become a great family and community event.
There is a barbecue put on by the Niagara on the Lake – Lewiston Rotary Club, says King, pizza is donated from Sandtrap Pub and Grill and ice cream from Cows, all served up the day of the run in Simcoe Park.
Alao at the run site, fruit is donated from Walkers and Tim Hortons donates coffee and goodies, water is provided from A1 flooring and Valu-mart. Shirts are sold the day of the run for $20 but can be purchased ahead of time.
Other events are organized to add to the funds raised: there will be a movie night Friday, Sept. 7 at the Outlet Mall at Glendale. Food and wine will be served and all proceeds will go to support Terry Fox.
A Tunes for Terry trivia night will be held Friday, Sept. 14, and on Sept. 15, students who need volunteer hours will be out at the two Valu-marts and Avondales in the Old Town and Virgil collecting money for the Terry Fox Foundation for cancer research, said King.
Individuals and businesses can form their teams and raise money as well. Joe and Mike Pillitteri have formed the team Pillsy and are perfect examples of what you can do to raise money, said King – they organize a car wash and bake sale, a lemonade stand, and a comedy and music night.
“Terry turned misfortune into a journey that brought a nation together. Terry brought out the best in us…compassion, togetherness and generosity. He inspired community, He passed the torch to us and his wish was to keep the Marathon of Hope alive,” said King.
“What he did was solely for the benefit of others. He represents the human values we most admire, courage and determination. He is a Canadian hero embraced by the whole world.”