Local Terry Fox Run raises over $14K for 40th anniversary

(From left to right) Chris Ferchuk, Ted Zurakowski, Vern Hodgins and Danielle Poisson collect donations for the Terry Fox Run at the Alfred Jenkins Fieldhouse on Sept. 20, 2020. (Jayda Taylor/Daily Herald)

The Prince Albert Terry Fox Run raised over $14,000 for cancer research this year despite the pandemic forcing the committee to take an unusual route.

Rather than having participants take off at the same time and location on the Rotary Trail on Sunday, they ran separately between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. or at their own location. People were encouraged to register and donate online to minimize contact.

Chair Danielle Poisson was pleasantly surprised that they exceeded their $12,000 goal, raising $14,385. That’s just short of the record $16,000 in 1982.

Canadian Tire owner and philanthropist Malcolm Jenkins donated $2,000 in total, half at the run and half at the first responders relay on Sept. 12.

Each of the relay teams, Parkland Ambulance, the fire department and police service, donated $500.

“We didn’t expect a lot from everybody, just whatever they could,” said Poisson. “The people that can still give during the pandemic, it’s just amazing.”

Poisson has been on the committee for about six years, with this year being her second as chair.

She joined following the death of her father, who battled cancer. Just last week, she lost an uncle to cancer.

“Just like COVID, cancer is alive and well and we still need to continue the fight and awareness,” she said.

“It’s definitely near and dear to my heart, so it’s great that we can still make the awareness even though COVID is still around. We’re all in it together.”

Twenty-six people participated in the run this year. Like usual, they could take the two, five or 10 km routes.

Participants were also given bottled water, as the water station was closed, and gift bags filled with ribbons, stickers, treats and Source For Sports discounts.

Twenty-six people participated in the Terry Fox Run in Prince Albert on Sept. 20, 2020. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, runners didn’t have a set start time on the Rotary Trail. (Jayda Taylor/Daily Herald)

This year was the 40th anniversary of Terry Fox’s Marathon of Hope.

On Apr. 12, 1980, the then 22-year-old dipped his artificial leg into the Atlantic Ocean and began his trek across the country. He averaged 42 km a day through six provinces.

Fox was forced to stop running on Sept. 1 in Thunder Bay, Ont. when cancer spread to his lungs.

Other local committee members, Chris Ferchuk and Vern Hodgins, have been part of the Terry Fox Run for all 40 years.

Ferchuk admires the foundation because most of the money raised goes towards cancer research, and very little towards running the organization.

“Terry Fox is a role model to me about trying, never give up, doing your best,” he said.

“It’s still very exciting each year to put on the event, seeing people come out, doing the walk or the run,” added Ferchuk. “Because it’s the anniversary, it’s even more important this year even though we have COVID.”

Like Ferchuk, long-time participant Rosalind Doderai said Canadians should be proud of what Fox has done to raise awareness for cancer.

Doderai, who lives in the Birch Hills area, has been participating in the run and collecting donations for over 35 years.

“I think it’s affected everybody’s life, cancer, and Terry Fox is one of my great Canadian heroes and I guess I just want to carry on his dream for him and for all of the people that have had and are going through cancer,” she said.

“This year’s been a little bit different with the COVID, but people continue to support me and I’m very, very happy that they continue to do so.”

Doderai said her husband sponsors her every year, and she collects donations from friends and family even outside of Saskatchewan.

The Prince Albert run took place at Little Red River Park when it first began, before moving to City Hall, the Harry Jerome Track and now the Alfred Jenkins Fieldhouse.

According to the Terry Fox Foundation, over $800 million has been raised for cancer research in Fox’s name as of April 2020.