Family Fun takes up Terry Fox Run

One of Quesnel's best fundraising family have turned their sights to the Terry Fox Run September 20.

Left to right: Shane Rawlings

Family Fun has switched its venue but maintains a steady eye on their focus, to battle cancer through fundraising.

For the past 14 years, the extended family have worked together to raise funds for Relay for Life, however, this year they are changing it up.

“We were looking for a change, there are so many worthy causes,” MaryAnn Kopetski said.

“This year we’re throwing our efforts behind the Terry Fox Run.”

She admitted she was always drawn to the Terry Fox Run given it’s also a family-run foundation.

“I can go to their website and see where just about every dollar goes to, they’re very transparent,” MaryAnn said.

“Terry Fox was a remarkable young man who said just $1 from every Canadian could make such a difference in the fight against cancer. And to know that 84 cents of every dollar donated goes to cancer research is admirable.”

To date, $650 million has been raised worldwide for cancer research in Terry’s name.

Family Fun is comprised of MaryAnn, five of her sisters, one brother, a brother-in-law, three nephews, one niece and one cousin, truly a family affair. When they first started MaryAnn’s mother and two uncles Aylmer and Eugene were also on the team.

“They loved being on the team, although they couldn’t do that much it was great having them with us,” MaryAnn said.

But there’s no doubt MaryAnn is the driving force behind Family Fun and everyone is happy to take their direction from her.

“As a family we do a lot together anyway, so fundraising is just part of that.”

The youngest members of the team Jeremy who began when he was just 9 years old, is now 23 and although away at university, is still part of the team, and Matt whose now 21, was 7 years old when he joined the team also considers himself a team member while also away at school.

With the Terry Fox Run slated for Sept. 20, Family Fun doesn’t have the full year to fundraise but MaryAnn is optimistic they’ll raise a respectable amount before the event. They will continue to fundraise throughout the year so next year will reflect their usual amazing totals.

This year for Relay for Life they raised $23,868.70, their highest number to date.

Before switching to the Terry Fox Run, MaryAnn contacted the foundation for information and see how they were received.

“They were so welcoming and accommodating,” she said.

“The Terry Fox Run is very different from Relay, there’s no minimum amount to raise, no sign up fee however we can still register as a team and fundraise online as well.”

Family Fun is also looking forward to the change in how they participate. The Terry Fox Run is a set distance along the Riverwalk, beginning in LeBourdais Park.

But regardless of who they give their fundraising dollars to, Family Fun is focused on fighting cancer.

“When we first started we just thought if was a neat thing to do but in 2009 it hit us hard when we lost our brother-in-law Mike to brain cancer, he’s who pulled us into why we were do it.

“Since then we’ve lost five family members and several friends to cancer. Yes, we’re pretty committed to the cancer fight.”

MaryAnn knows fundraising can be unpredictable but over the years, Family Fun has gathered a pretty loyal following, especially through their bottle drives.

“A good part of our fundraising is from our bottle drives and I’ve got a new motto, “fighting cancer one pop can at a time.”

In Quesnel, the Quesnel Rotary Club organizes the Terry Fox Run with Jan Rivers chairing the committee. Registration can be done online or on the day of the run Sept. 20 at 9 a.m. in LeBourdais Park. Start time is 10 a.m. and the route is the Riverwalk.