Terry Fox run, usually held in September is going to go virtual in July and August

News 100 yellowBy Staff

July 6th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

We live at a time when almost everything is virtual.

It’s an odd feeling.

How do you respond to something that is virtual? Where is the human element?

terry-fox-running-across-from-monument

Terry Fox running through Burlington in xx of 1980. The monument commemorating that event is right across Lakeshore Road

Forty years ago Terry Fox ran along Lakeshore Road in his Marathon of Hope that ended in Thunder Bay on September 1st, 1980 after 143 days on the road covering 3582 km.

He died the following year 1981, on June 28th. ,

Since then communities across the country have been celebrating what Terry managed to get done in his short life.

The Terry Fox Run for Cancer always took place in September. The Fox Foundation decided that there would not be a Run this September due to the pandemic and the need to exercise serious discipline when it comes to huge numbers of people participating in an event.

Fox monument with Brant Inn

Burlington may be the only city in the country with a monument like this.

The Burlington Terry Fox event didn’t was to miss a year – and it didn’t want to walk away from that 40th anniversary.

Terry ran through Burlington on July 13, 1980.  The city is expected to raise the Terry Fox flag that day.

Craig Gardner Terry Fox

Craig Gardner: “We had to get creative.

The Gazette asked Craig Gardner how long has he been heading up the annual Terry Fox event in Burlington.

“I have been the chair now for five years now; I was on the committee for 5 years before that and a volunteer for 5 years before that. So I have been involved now for 15 years. The first run was in September of 1981 at Sherwood Forest Park.

“After 2 years it moved to city hall for almost 20 years, then to Beachway Park Pavilion for 14 years. The year I became chair is when we moved everything to the east end of Spencer Smith Park by the Waterfront Hotel. Hopefully we will be back there in 2021.

“After 39 runs we have raised almost $2.2 million for cancer research by over 24,000 participants and in addition the Burlington school runs have raised an additional $2 million plus.

“Now with no event we had to get creative – we looked at some pretty radical ideas. We are hoping that the social distancing rules are lightened up a bit and people will feel safer getting out and doing their own thing for the Run.

“The Terry Fox Foundation is expected to approve some ideas that have not been done before by anyone. Much like last year when we became the first local Terry Fox organization to apply for and get a Canada summer jobs grant to hire a student. We did the same this year as did three other run sites.

What are some of those ideas?

“Locally my committee took the 2019 participant data base and divided it up amongst themselves and we will be emailing or calling as many of the folks from last year (who gave us permission) as we can to tell them there is a 2020 40th anniversary event or events. We will describe it to them to ensure we follow COVID-19 rules.

“There are other ideas I can’t talk about yet – need to get possible participants fully onside.  The ideas I can talk about are really ideas we are passing along to our teams when we call/email. This year anything goals and depending on Covid-19 numbers allowed we suggested things like pool parties, cocktail parties, BBQ’s sidewalk chalking, skateboard.

EAch of these woman had their own reasons for running this race and each ran it in their own way. Hundreds did just this during the Terry Fox Run for cancer research

Each of these woman had their own reasons for running this race and each ran it in their own way. Hundreds did just this during the Terry Fox Run for cancer research. This was in 2012

“As I say in 2020 anything goes – we are just ask people to register and collect donations from sponsors or donate themselves. We had arranged for a date to collect donations at all LCBO in Burlington, but we are not sure if that will fly –  it is scheduled for mid-August.

Terry Fox flag

Truer words were never said: Will the community continue its support even if it takes place virtually.

Craig Gardner explains: “We will start our promotion of the event after the July 13th Council meeting – he want be able to delegate but expects Councillor Bentivegna to speak to the event.  City Hall is expected to hoist the Terry Fox flag in September.

“We plan to reach out personally to as many Teams and individuals as we can from last year’s run to see if they want to participate in this year’s virtual event.

“Virtual in this case means doing whatever you like whenever you like wherever you like to raise money for cancer research as long as Covid-19 rules in place are followed by each event.

“We have seen this year’s 40th anniversary shirt designed by a Foxer in Moose Jaw Saskatchewan (he won a contest with 1600 entries that the Fox family reviewed each of to decide the winner).

“With the big Spencer Smith Park run scheduled for September 20th is cancelled, we are asking people to register online either individually or as part of a team and send their personalized url to family and friends to donate.

Register online at http://www.terryfox.ca/terryfoxrun/burlington-on

The Burlington Terry Fox Run for Cancer people managed to get funding to hire a summer intern through the Canada Summer Jobs grant.

“The student we have is amazing. She has already gone through our data for each channel(Facebook, Instagram and Twitter) determining demographics of our audience, best time and day to post things, what things get the most hits. She is in the process of creating a calendar of postings. We have a lot of information to pull from with The BLOG, Terry Fox foundation and the Terry Fox Research Institute as well as information we have gathered thru filmed visits to cancer research labs at McMaster.

“One of my committee members has started a new blog this year. She is interviewing people associated with Terry in Burlington from the first run chair in Sept 1981 till present. There will also be blogs entries pre-dating the first run of when Terry actually ran through Burlington July 13, 1980. The plan is to post one new entry per week and share it to our various social media channels.

https://terryfoxburlington.wordpress.com/   The Gazette will carry those blogs.

Why did the Fox Foundation come to the decision there wouldn’t be a Run this year?

“As I understand it with hundreds and hundreds of run sites not only in Canada but global it is not easy to turn this ship on a dime and so not knowing what conditions would be like in September in all locations it was decided to make an early call and have everyone focus on the new way for this year. With some many businesses shut for extended periods it has been a challenge to get promotional materials even our iconic shirts are later than normal due to the pandemic.

Terry Fox runners

The event has always been heavily attended.

“What are your hopes for this year?

“I would love to see everyone who has participated in any of the 39 previous years of first timers to get outside sometime over summer or September and do something for Terry and for themselves.

“Go for a walk, a hike, whatever works for you and donate yourself, get your friends and family to donate. Last year we came within $6,000 of our all-time record from 2005 – I would love to see the people of Burlington fight through the adversity of Covid-a9 and somehow manage to make the 40th anniversary the biggest year ever in Burlington and raise $130K.

T shirts sales are going well. We are selling them online from our Facebook page. We normally sell 100 or so in a good year and so far have sold almost 30 in the last few days.

What comes next?

“Hopefully a new normal will allow us to get back in our regular spot by the Waterfront Hotel at the east end of Spencer Smith Park with a bigger, better event than we have ever had. Sunday September 19, 2021 mark your calendars now.

If you have any questions about Terry Fox Run 2020 please contact Gardner at 905-599-8621 or scraiggardner@sympatico.ca

 

 

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