Terry Fox Run participants take part in the warm up in LeBourdais Park before last year’s event. Ronan O’Doherty photo

Team Family Fun will bring another huge donation to Sept. 15 Terry Fox Run in Quesnel

The family team has raised $56,600 for the Terry Fox Foundation since 2015

As soon as last year’s Terry Fox Run ended, Team Family Fun was starting to raise money for the 2019 event.

The Quesnel team’s 10 members won’t have to wait much longer to hand in their donation, as this year’s Terry Fox Run is set for Sunday, Sept. 15.

Team Family Fun has raised $56,600 for the Terry Fox Foundation in the past four years.

The team formed in 2002, originally to raise money for and participate in the Relay For Life. They switched to the Terry Fox Run in 2015.

“We were looking for something to raise money for, and we felt Terry Fox was a good fit because we are a family team, as is the Terry Fox Foundation,” said team member MaryAnn Kopetski.

Team Family Fun fundraises year-round.

“As soon as we finish one walk, we start again,” said Kopetski.

Since 2002, Team Family Fun has raised $230,000 for Relay For Life and the Terry Fox Run.

“We’re actually proud of that,” said Kopetski. “Any fundraisers we do, we get tremendous support. It’s amazing.”

Kopetski says the team raised $16,700 for last year’s Terry Fox Run, and they will probably be pretty close to that this year.

There are currently 10 active team members.

“We started out being three generations, but as we went along, our first generation is in heaven, and our third generation, our kids, they got a life and moved on, so now it’s just us,” said Kopetski.

Kopetski says there are several reasons Team Family Fun enjoys supporting the Terry Fox Run so much, including the fact that 82 cents of every dollar raised goes to cancer research and the fact that the Terry Fox Foundation.

“Terry Fox was amazingly inspiring,” she said. “I can’t believe it’s been that many years since he started his run. We’ve always been fans of Terry Fox. It’s also unfortunately easy to raise money for cancer because it has touched so many.”

The Sept. 15 Terry Fox Run, sponsored by the Quesnel Rotary Club, starts and ends at LeBourdais Park.

Registration is at 9 a.m. at the Friendship Stage and the run starts at 10 a.m.

The route will take participants clockwise along the Riverfront Trail, which is 5.5 kilometres long and can be shortened if desired. Leashed dogs, bikes, wheelchairs, rollerblades and strollers are welcome.

Terry Fox T-shirts will be available for sale at the start of the run and coffee will be available to warm up participants. There will be oranges and cookies at the end of the event.

The Quesnel Terry Fox Run has steadily grown in the last couple of years. In 2017, 125 people participated in the event and raised $18,700, and in 2018, there were 159 participants who raised more than $20,000.

READ MORE: Quesnel’s Terry Fox Run raises over $20,000

While the Terry Fox Run does not have an entry fee or minimum donation, the Rotary Club encourages participants to fundraise or make a donation of some amount. Rotary volunteers will be accepting donations the day of the event at LeBourdais Park, or people can donate online at terryfox.org.

This September marks the 39th anniversary of Terry Fox’s Marathon of Hope.

Fox, who grew up in Port Coquitlam, was diagnosed with osteogenic sarcoma (bone cancer) in his right leg in 1977 and had his right leg amputated 15 centimetres above the knee at the age of 18.

While in the hospital, Fox was so overcome by the suffering of other cancer patients that he decided to run across Canada to raise money for cancer research, and he called his journey the Marathon of Hope.

In 1980, Fox ran 5,373 kilometres in 143 days, running an average of 42 kilometres a day — or one marathon each day. Fox’s Marathon of Hope started April 12, 1980, in St. John’s, Nfld.

Fox was forced to end his run on Sept. 1, 1980, when the cancer spread to his lungs.

By Feb. 1, 1981, Fox’s dream of raising $1 for every Canadian was realized — the Terry Fox Marathon of Hope fund totalled $24.17 million. Fox died four months later.

The first Terry Fox Run was held Sept. 13, 1981, at 760 sites in Canada. That year, the Terry Fox Run raised $3.5 million. To date, the run has raised $750 million worldwide for cancer research.

Now in its 39th year, the Terry Fox Run has evolved into the largest fundraising event in support of cancer research in the world, according to the Terry Fox Foundation, with events taking place in 33 countries across five continents annually — including more than 10,000 in Canada.

Kopetski encourages people to come out and raise money and participate in the Terry Fox Run, noting that one of the nice things about the event is you can do as much or as little walking or running as you are able.

“A couple of people on our team, our oldest, my sister Joyce, does the whole walk, and the rest of us do what we can,” she said. “It isn’t something that if you can’t do it all, don’t do it. Come out and do what you can.”

Lindsay Chung

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