Langley City mayor Ted Schaffer told a rain-drenched Terry Fox run about his own personal experience with cancer Sunday morning, describing how a supposedly routine trip to see a doctor became something else.
He was told he had been diagnosed with an “aggressive” form of colon cancer, Schaffer said.
Before undergoing surgery, Schaffer announced he would not be running for re-election as City mayor, citing “health reasons” without giving specifics.
Follow-up tests since his operation have been positive and his prognosis is good, Schaffer told The Times after he spoke at the event in Douglas Park.
Many among the roughly 250 volunteers and marchers who took part in the annual fund-raiser for cancer research had similar stories, including Marg McGuire-Grout, the chairperson of the run organizing committee.
McGuire-Grout lost her father to cancer, while her mother was a cancer survivor.
“It’s touched my family,” McGuire-Grout said.
“So for me, it’s personal.”
The Langley City event took place during a heavy downpour.
Participants included Langley City councillors Rudy Storteboom, Nathan Pachal and Val van den Broek as well as Langley MLA Mary Polak.
Many pointed out the heavy rain was nothing compared to some of the severe weather conditions Fox endured during his Marathon of Hope in 1980 to raise money for cancer research, a run that ended near Thunder Bay, Ontario after 143 days and 5,373 kilometres because his cancer had spread to his lungs.
For McGuire-Grout, now in her fourth year as chairperson, the miserable weather was reminiscent of her first tour of duty as chairperson of the annual Langley City run.
“It was raining this hard,” McGuire-Grout said.
“It doesn’t deter us and it doesn’t dampen our spirits. Terry Fox ran through all sorts of inclement weather, so surely we can put up with it for three or four hours.”
An initial rough estimate of attendance at the Langley City run put turnout at nearly 200 people, down slightly from the year before when 228 participants raised $14,000.
To date, the Langley City Terry Fox Run has raised over $136,000 for cancer research since it started, while the Walnut Grove run in Langley Township has collected $140,000 and the Aldergrove run has raised $79,000.
Those amounts don’t include funds raised by local schools and other groups.
It is the 38th year of the Terry Fox run, which includes an estimated 10,000 events across the country, McGuire-Grout said.
And as Fox wishes, the charity is run almost entirely with unpaid volunteers, ensuring that the bulk of donations are used for finding a cure.
“Eighty-two cents of every dollar to goes to cancer research,” McGuire-Grout said.