Keeping Terry Fox’s dream alive

Penticton will celebrate the life of Terry Fox with the annual run taking place this Sunday starting at the SS Sicamous.

Organizer Bill Palmer shows off his cancer supporter decal to promote this year's Terry Fox Run. The annual event takes place Sunday starting at the SS Sicamous

Organizer Bill Palmer shows off his cancer supporter decal to promote this year's Terry Fox Run. The annual event takes place Sunday starting at the SS Sicamous

A longstanding tradition in honour of a Canadian hero will continue in Penticton this Sunday as people keep Terry Fox’s dream to outrun cancer alive.

The Terry Fox Run for Cancer Research will be taking place at the SS Sicamous and will continue along the Okanagan River Channel on one kilometre, three km and 10 km routes. This year, Penticton run organizer Bill Palmer decided to do something a little different.

“I have a poster made up on a board that simply says, ‘I am running for …’ and we welcome people to put down the name of the person who they are running for or put up a picture or anything that means something to them,” said Palmer. “I hope people can see all the reasons why people are running and how many people cancer effects.”

Palmer will be writing down the name of his son, Doug, who after a five-year battle with multiple myeloma succumbed to the cancer in September 2005 at the age of 31.

“They told us at the time that it was treatable, but not curable and his life expectancy would be five to eight years and it turned out to be just over five,” said Palmer.

Watching his son go through treatment and being in close vicinity of many others, including kids, going through their treatment changed Palmer’s outlook on life.

“I thought this would be my chance to give back. I want to help with whatever can be done so maybe it will help someone else in the future that went through what Doug went through and all the other people. Since the Terry Fox Foundation is all about research I thought this would be a good opportunity to do that,” said Palmer.

Registration for Sunday’s event begins at 11 a.m. and the run starts at noon. Participants can run, walk, wheel or ride their way along the trail and people are also allowed to bring their dogs as long as they are on leash. The run is an all inclusive and non-competitive event, with no registration and no minimum pledge amount.

“If there is an older person or someone with mobility problems they can walk even half a kilometre. There is no minimum pledge, even if you can only bring $1 that is still great, just come down and join,” said Palmer.

The run is inspired by a dream, grounded in tradition and entirely volunteer driven. The Terry Fox Foundation believes it is a great way to continue Fox’s message of hope for a cure by working together to outrun cancer. Palmer said there will be a short ceremony before the run starts and two members from the City of Penticton pipe band will play at the start in the Penticton Rose Garden. When participants finish they will get a certificate with this year’s stamp on it. T-shirts will also be on sale from the Terry Fox foundation for $17. Palmer said he does have a small supply of long sleeve t-shirts that are $25. If they do run out more are available for purchase at www.terryfox.org.

People can also register as teams to celebrate, honour and remember a loved one while making an impact on cancer research. Last year, 1,4,69 teams across Canada were able to raise $2.3 million for a cure with 30 per cent of those teams honouring a loved one. To date, the Terry Fox Foundation has raised over $600 million for cancer research worldwide through the annual Terry Fox run, national school run day and other fundraising initiatives. The Terry Fox Research Institute seeks to improve significantly the outcomes of cancer research for the patient through a highly collaborative, team-orientated, milestone driven approach to research with the goal of enabling discoveries to translate quickly into practical solutions for cancer patients worldwide.

For more information on the Penticton run contact local volunteer organizer Palmer at 778-476-0885 or at derpalm8@yahoo.com.