SUNDRE — The upcoming local community Terry Fox Run will largely resemble last year’s approach of providing options for people to personalize their approach.
“We are doing a virtual run again,” said organizer Annalise Fricker.
As a result of ongoing uncertainty with regards to the pandemic in the months leading up to the annual Marathon of Hope, Fricker said the Terry Fox Foundation decided to err on the side of caution.
“Everything’s been so up in the air,” she said, adding, “Each municipality across Canada is doing things a little bit differently. So, the foundation thought it would be best if we just kept it to a virtual run.”
Fricker, who just a few years ago took the proverbial torch from Terry Leslie — her father and past organizer of the community run since 1983 — said more people got involved last year despite the different format.
“We did see quite a bit more participation and funds raised, especially in Sundre, from the virtual run last year,” she said. “It’s actually been a good thing. So, that’s a positive to come out of this virtual run.”
The run is scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 19, but there is no set location, distance or time, as participants choose for themselves how far to go and whether they prefer to use the local trail network or perhaps somewhere else in the countryside or maybe even the indoor pool at the Sundre Aquaplex.
“It’s going to be walk, run, bike — swim, I guess you could even say!” she added with a laugh.
Contributions are all made online like last year by visiting the foundation’s official website, www.terryfox.org/donate, and filling out one’s location in the contact information provided through the digital donation form.
The only thing that’s different this year is that Fricker has T-shirts available for purchase, meaning people who are interested can buy the apparel directly through the organizer without having to order online.
“They’re a really, really cool design this year. I was really excited to open the box,” she said.
In light of the revelations about residential schools throughout the country that sent reverberations through Canada’s collective conscience, the Fox family decided this year to mindfully develop a T-shirt design that includes Métis representation after searching their heritage and discovering a connection.
"To honour this history, the family liaised with Métis Nation BC to create the 2021 Terry Fox Run T-shirt," reads a portion of the foundation's website.
“The T-shirts are kind of a collaboration,” Fricker said. “They’re really beautiful. Each one of them comes with a little card that explains the community that it’s from and what it stands for, and how Terry Fox and his family, their visions align.”
Fricker is optimistic that all of the shirts she was sent will be sold, with some enthusiastic regulars having already requested theirs before she’d yet had a chance to take them out of the box.
“If somebody wants to pick one up, they’re welcome to text me or call me,” said Fricker, adding she can be reached at 587-444-4069.
The pandemic was not enough to hamper last year’s fundraiser, when a total of $3,070 actually became the second-highest amount raised through the local community run’s decades-long history, and Fricker hopes to meet or possibly even exceed that target this time around.
“That’s what we would really like to see,” she said. “Sundre does come out and really supports this run and always has.”
Since Leslie started the Sundre Terry Fox Run in 1983, the local effort has raised $67,046. On average, she estimated that roughly $1,700 to $1,800 has generally been raised since the beginning.
“I love that this has become a part of my family and our legacy. I feel intertwined with the Terry Fox Run, and I love that the community has gotten behind this,” she said.
“Especially in the challenging times that we’ve had over the past nearly two years. It’s nice to have a day, or a week, or a month, where you’re thinking about something that represents hope.”
Every dollar raised helps not only to find a cure for cancer, but also provide treatment to fight the disease and raise awareness as well, she said.
“This is just a fantastic organization, and I’m so proud to be an organizer, be a part of it, and have it be part of my family and be able to share that with all the amazing people in Sundre.”