Hundreds run Marathon of Hope

Kingston participants walked
Image by: Ian Babbit
Kingston participants walked

As Royal Military College student Bronwyn Jones prepared to in-line skate five-kilometres for cancer research, she explained where she got her drive.

“I was diagnosed with bone cancer in 1998,” Jones said.

She said that since recovering from the illness, she hasn’t forgotten her inspiration.

“I remember the first day I went in for testing, there was a huge poster of Terry Fox up on the wall,” she said.

After losing his leg to cancer, Terry Fox decided to run across Canada from coast to coast to raise money for cancer research. He had to abandon his Marathon of Hope after the cancer spread to his lungs. He died on June 28, 1981.

Jones has participated in the worldwide Marathon of Hope held annually in Fox’s memory since 2000.

An estimated 600 participants gathered with Jones to run the annual Terry Fox Run at Queen’s University on Sunday.

As the expected run time neared, participant Meredith Stockie, PhysEd ’06, said she felt a buzz of excitement, inspiration and hope among the group, who were preparing to run, walk or in-line skate the course.

“You can see how it touches so many people,” she said, looking around at the students, families and other community members who had gathered at the start line outside Jock Harty Arena.

Paul Smith, a Kingston resident, said he felt celebrating the 25th anniversary of the annual event made this year’s run extra special. He said he visited the Terry Fox monument in Thunder Bay this summer and added he would be thinking about it while running the circuit.

Jake Smith, Sci ’07 and co-coordinator for this year’s run, said he got involved because his mother is a breast cancer survivor.

He said the Engineering Society has organized the event each year since 1987 and has raised more than $100,000 to date.

In keeping with Terry Fox’s original plan to get each Canadian to donate a single dollar for cancer research, this year’s run aimed to increase awareness of the cause and bring out more participants, he said.

“We set our goal on the participants rather than on the money,” he said.

Smith said he hoped to surpass last year’s approximately 370 runners by gathering at least 500 participants. Moments before the run, he stood in front of the crowd and spoke into a microphone.

“We have run out of pledge forms, which means we have surpassed our goal of 500 participants,” he said, as a roar of applause broke out in the crowd.

He told the Journal this year’s run at Queen’s raised an estimated $24,500.

“It was really rewarding and worth all the work,” said Shu Wang, Sci ’06, who helped organize the event. Also speaking to the crowd before the race was Lisa Tugnette, a breast cancer survivor who gave some words of encouragement.

“You are making such a difference,” she told the group of participants.

The Terry Fox Foundation has raised more than $360 million for cancer research over the past 25 years. Participants had the option of walking, running, biking or in-line skating around the five-kilometre circuit. There was also a one-kilometre wheelchair-accessible alternative.

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