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Nelson’s Terry Fox Makes a Difference For People With Cancer

Colin Payne
By Colin Payne
September 10th, 2014

It’s one of country’s the longest-running, most dedicated cancer fundraising events, and on Sunday, September 14 people across the country including here in Nelson will take part in the annual Terry Fox Run.

Conceived in 1981, shortly after Terry Fox was taken by cancer, the Terry Fox Run has happened annually as a fundraiser for cancer research – raising $600 million along the way.

Nelson Terry Fox Run coordinator, Mike Hurley has been involved in the run since the very beginning when he followed Terry’s journey in high school social studies class.

“While Terry was going across Canada our social studies class was tracking him as a project,” Hurley says.

“Then one day one of our teachers said that he had stopped his run and was going for tests. Then he passed away.”

From that point on, Hurley has made a point of participating in the Terry Fox run where ever he was in the country, and when he moved back to Nelson after being away years ago he got involved and started helping to organize the local run.

When asked why he thinks the Terry Fox Run and its parent foundation have been so successful and long lasting, Hurley said it’s Terry’s personality and his motivations that keep it going.

“I think Terry was just one of those people who attracted people towards him, and I also think at the time he was one of the first pioneers who looked at doing something (about cancer) and put the challenge out to everyone else,” Hurley says.

Hurley added that research funded by the Terry Fox Foundation is done so with a different philosophy than other cancer research funds.

“[It] focuses on thinking outside the box when it comes to cancer,” Hurley says.

“If you’re a researcher and you have an idea that you want to try, (the foundation) may fund you because you’re looking at very different ways to think about it. And it looks at ways to get beyond the red tape.

“They’re trying to be able to take things off the lab bench and get them to the bedside quickly so we can start seeing more progress.”

And since Terry’s time there has been quite a bit of progress. For example, Hurley notes that the cancer that took Terry’s life, osteosarcoma, now has an 85 percent survival rate.

Other cancers now also have high survival rates including: thyroid (98 percent), prostate (96 percent), testicular (95 percent), melanoma (90 percent) and breast (88 percent).

If this sounds like positive action to you, the local Terry Fox Run is a great way to support it.

You can either donate money directly, even as simply as texting terryfox to 45678 for a $5 donation or you could go all out and collect pledges from your friends and neighbours to donate. You can also make a donation to the Nelson run as simply as clicking on this link.

Las year about 300 people participate din the Nelson on the beautiful lakefront, raising about $10,000 for the Terry Fox Foundation and cancer research. Hurley is hoping that success will continue.

“We’re hoping we can keep the momentum going,” he says. “We have some younger people helping us with organizing, so we’re bringing in the younger generation.

“And the Dragon Boat ladies are helping us out as well.”

To get more information or get involved in the local Terry Fox Run, check out the local website.

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