Terry Fox’s three-day run across Prince Edward Island 29 years ago was a huge psychological boost for the runner, says Fred Fox, Terry’s older brother.
In a diary entry from P.E.I. on May 26, 1980, Terry Fox described his run on the Island as the most beautiful day so far.
“There were lots of people out to cheer me on and support me. Incredible. I had another dizzy spell during the run. Still freezing, but I wasn’t wearing sweats so people could see my leg. I’d run just over 28 miles.”
Fred Fox read from his young brother’s diary on Thursday in Charlottetown as the Terry Fox Foundation, in partnership with Strait Crossing Bridge Limited, announced the return of the Terry Fox Run to the Confederation Bridge. The run will be held on Sept. 19, 2010, in recognition of the 30th anniversary of the Marathon of Hope.
“Terry’s dream continues,” said Fred Fox.
Terry Fox was diagnosed with bone cancer in his right leg in 1977. He had that leg amputated six inches above the knee.
While in hospital, Terry was so overcome by the suffering of other cancer patients that he decided to run across Canada to raise money for cancer research. He called his journey the Marathon of Hope.
Terry was forced to end his run on Sept. 1, 1980, when the cancer had spread to his lungs.
Michel Le Chasseur, general manager of the Confederation Bridge, said the bridge remains a magnet for runners interested in taking part in the Terry Fox Run from across Canada.
2010 will mark the second time the Confederation Bridge has hosted the Terry Fox Run.
The event was last held in 2005 to commemorate the run’s 25th anniversary, attracting 14,000 participants and raising $375,000 for cancer research.
It was recognized as the largest single Terry Fox Run in the history of the event for both participation and funds raised.
Organizers hope to surpass those numbers in 2010.
“We invite everyone to join us on the bridge on Sept. 19, 2010 to be a part of Terry’s legacy of courage and determination, to celebrate the progress made in cancer research, and to help ensure that strides in the fight against cancer continue,” said Le Chasseur.
To date, close to $500 million has been raised in Terry’s name for cancer research through the Terry Fox Run.
It is held in 30 countries across four continents.
Funds raised in Terry’s name have already generated tangible results: research funded by his foundation has generated new imaging technology that makes the early diagnosis and treatment of cancer far less invasive and traumatic for patients, mortality rates for both women and men for many cancers have dropped significantly, and several cancers are now considered ‘curable’, including childhood leukemia, Hodgkin’s disease and testicular cancer.
“Terry’s Marathon of Hope united Canada in an effort to find a cure for cancer. The 2010 Terry Fox Run on the Confederation Bridge will do the same,” says Onne de Boer, provincial director of the Terry Fox Foundation in New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.
“This exciting event will be in addition to the current Terry Fox community runs held in Atlantic Canada. It will provide supporters with a very unique opportunity to cross the span of this magnificent bridge on foot and fundraise for cancer research in Terry’s name.”
BRIDGE CLOSURE 'SLIGHT INCONVENIENCE'
A “slight inconvenience” is how Michel Le Chasseur, general manager of the Confederation Bridge, describes a seven-hour closure of the Island’s main link to the mainland for the Terry Fox Run next September.
The bridge will be shutdown on Sunday, Sept. 19, 2010 from 6 a.m. until 1 p.m. The run is being held to mark the 30th anniversary of the Terry Fox Run.
This will be the seventh full bridge closure for special events, including two bridge walks, three bicycle races, and now two Terry Fox Runs.
Le Chasseur says all closures need to be approved by the provinces of Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick as well as Transport Canada. He said this latest bridge closure has received all approvals.
“We have a lot of respect for what Terry did, he gave his life, and we want to participate,” said the bridge boss.
A news release put out by Strait Crossing describes the bridge as “. . . an integral part of the Trans-Canada Highway.”
But Le Chasseur said the travelling public is getting lots of notice, almost a year in advance of the closure. He added that a process will be put in place that will allow emergency response vehicles to go across the bridge, even at the height of the run.
The last Terry Fox Run attracted more than 14,000 people on the 13-kilometre span.
Still, Le Chasseur said emergency vehicles will be able to get through.
“Absolutely,” he added.
Still, Le Chasseur said he’s heard complaints from drivers when the bridge has been closed in the past.
There were only about 30 cars waiting on the P.E.I.-side of the bridge when it was closed for the same time period for the Terry Fox Run in 2005.
“Some concerns are very logical,” he said. “‘I have a plane to catch. I need to get to a medical appointment’.”