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Annual Terry Fox Run

September 16, 2021 by FH&P Lawyers

For years FH&P Lawyers have been giving back to the community in several fundraising efforts. Our Firm is proud to be a part of is the annual Terry Fox Run, which is scheduled for Sunday, September 19th.

Like most events during the pandemic, the Terry Fox Run will, once again, be done from wherever you are on “one day, your way!” Whether running, walking or riding around your neighbourhood, backyard, down the street or around the block, the Terry Fox Run is a fall tradition in Canada.

Associate Counsel Wes Shields is a cancer survivor and is a former member of the Kelowna organizing committee. He discusses the importance of raising funds to eradicate cancer and the major steps that have been made because of the fundraising.


Ryan Watters: The annual Terry Fox Run is coming up on Sunday, and like most other things, it will look a little bit different. Associate Counsel here at FH&P Lawyers and a former member of the organizing committee Wes Shields joins us, and that is the theme, isn't it? It is going to look a little bit different once again this year.

Wes Shields: Well, it will be considerably different this year because we're dealing with COVID, so it'll be a virtual run. Like a lot of organizations, that is what we're faced with, but the mandate is to try to ensure that we keep the dream alive for Terry. The run continues in one form or another; this is the way we've dealt with it for the last year and a half.

Ryan Watters: Over 40 years now, is that right?

Wes Shields: That's right. It's hard to believe, but back in 1980, Terry's Marathon of Hope started, and it's been over 40 years since. Interestingly, when he first announced his dream to eradicate cancer or try to eradicate cancer, the dream was to raise $1 from every Canadian. At that time, we had a population of 25 million people, and he succeeded and surpassed that. I was reading statistics the other day indicating that the run has raised over $800M since its inception. It continues to bring in money for research that is definitely needed to eradicate this disease.

Ryan Watters: It has done a lot for us Canadians and for Canadian research, but around the world, people are looking at the Terry Fox Foundation and seeing what success they've had and raising funds that way as well.

Wes Shields: That's correct. With the Terry Fox Foundation, 87 cents of every dollar raised goes specifically to the research, and it's the research that seems to be the key to finding cures to cancer. The type of cancer that Terry Fox was diagnosed with is a case in point; we have made strides in terms of cures. If Terry were here and diagnosed today, he would be alive to tell us about it.
Despite the fact that we're finding cures, it seems that we're getting longer survival rates for cancer patients, but there are still many cancers out there that we don't know the causes of or the cures for - there's much research yet to be done.
Some cancers are treated more as a chronic disease now than the death sentence that may have been imposed upon you if it were 40 years ago.
And as you've mentioned, this Terry Fox Run is not isolated to just Canada. There are runs throughout the world, and it's heartwarming that 40 years later, countries in different regions that we would never have anticipated are holding the annual Terry Fox Run. There are no boundaries that cancer doesn't cross. It hits everyone, and I think that's why people recognize the importance of research.

Ryan Watters: It’s touched you as well, as a cancer survivor.

Wes Shields: Correct, yeah. It's hard to believe. Time flies, I guess, but I was diagnosed 10 years ago with prostate cancer. I'm a survivor, thank God for that, and it's touched not only me but also family members. I lost my stepfather and mother to different types of cancers in 2003. My sister was diagnosed with cancer in 2000 too. It hits many family members, and when they say one in three or four people will be touched with cancer, that statistic is realistic. Although it is a scary diagnosis, it is not fatalistic. We've made a lot of progress over the years, and that's positive. As long as we have the donors and as long as we have this run, we're going to continue to fund the research so that someday, maybe in my lifetime, cancer will be eradicated. If not, at least treated as I mentioned before as a chronic disease where we can manage it and prolong our life as comfortably as possible moving forward.

Ryan Watters: As you say, it touches everybody. It touches the younger generation, and they get involved through the school system. My kids are now in grades seven and five, and they know the Terry Fox story. They also run in the Terry Fox Run; it warms your heart that way too.

Wes Shields: es, the school districts throughout the country do a good job ensuring that Terry's memory is kept alive. The older generation, perhaps like yourself and me, are passing on the torch to the younger generation to recognize that cancer does not stop. I think it resounds, at least in my mind, that when Terry Fox was diagnosed and being treated, he constantly mentioned that he was concerned about the kids being diagnosed with cancer in the pediatric ward. Maybe that's why the message continues to resonate through the schools and the younger generations because we still haven't cured many childhood cancers - that's what we need to work on. It's so important at the younger level for the kids to realize, perhaps not as much as adults do, the importance of finding cures for the cancers. These kids in elementary schools who run for Terry Fox will pass the torch, so to speak, onto their kids. Hopefully, it will stop with them and won't have to be passed on any further down. Right now, everybody is on the same page and working towards a common goal to eradicate cancer.

Ryan Watters: The next Terry Fox here in Kelowna is on Sunday. You can do it virtually or on your own from your home, and we're missing that group connection we usually see. Hopefully, next year in 2022, they'll be an organized group run again. Do you think they'll be more participation because people want to get out, and they continue to want to give?

Wes Shields: I think so. While being locked up with COVID is one factor, the numbers have grown in past years when I've been part of the organizing committee for the Terry Fox Run. I think people more and more believe in the cause for eradicating cancer; they want to support a good cause. The Terry Fox Foundation has been around for years. It's something that people can donate money to, feel good about it, and know that we're making positive strides moving forward. So, my answer is yes. I think that in time to come, we're going to be finding more people participating in the Terry Fox Run. We try to encourage people to participate in the virtual run, but I think people are social animals and want to be part of it. We've had good turnouts in the past couple of years, and it's very inspiring listening to the speakers while being able to gather together. I hope, in 2022, we will be able to do just that.

Ryan Watters: Fingers crossed! Thanks for your time, Wes. You can still get involved at TerryFox.org, or you can be a volunteer, run, walk, or simply donate.