The Terry Fox Run has a special place in Donna Seymour's heart.
She's a two-time cancer survivor and runs every year in honour of her friend June Huyck, who died of ovarian cancer.
Over the years, the team, called June's Dream Team, has raised about $250,000 for cancer research.
Seymour said Huyck was a friend from school, who she ran into in 1993 during treatment for Hodgkin's lymphoma, Seymour's first bout with cancer.
“We hadn't seen each other since high school. But we recognized each other right away and June was well into her treatment. And I was just starting mine,” Seymour said.
They decided they would get together when they felt up to it – and they did.
A year earlier, in 1992, fundraising organizations had established “dream teams” as a way to boost donations and each team had to raise at least $1,000.
“June decided that she would do this. She had investigated cancer charities and decided that Terry Fox was the one because it had so little administration and other fees attached. Most of the money actually went to cancer research,” Seymour said.
“So, after we met in '93, I was able to support her with a donation. But at that point in time in my treatment I wasn't able to walk. So in '94, I started walking. And I've been walking every year since, even through my second cancer.”
June died in 1996 and Seymour has been helping to keep her dream team alive ever since.
“Prior to that, when she knew she wasn't going to survive she asked me if I would keep the team going. And, of course, I said I would. So, at her funeral, her friend Nina (Ruza) spoke, and she said that the team was going to keep going. And we decided we would co-captain the team, which we have been doing since 1996.”
These days Ruza isn't able to join the walks because of her own health, but helps fundraise for the event.
“She's still an amazing fundraiser,” Seymour said.
Last year because there was no community run due to the pandemic, the June's Dream Team members who usually walk went to Seymour's house, masked, for a walk there.
“I set up a walk around our home in Virgil, a five-kilometre walk — none of us run, we're all getting a little old for running now. So we did our walk from here. And then we came back and had a little social time.”
This year will be similar, Seymour said, with a distanced walk for team members around her Virgil neighbourhood. So far Seymour said the team has raised $10,000 and expects to raise more.
Anyone wishing to donate to June's Dream Team can do so at www.terryfox.ca/junesdreamteam.