The rain persisted for much of the morning in Langley City on Sunday, but so did the volunteers and participants as they prepared to take part in the 39th annual Terry Fox run to raise money for cancer research.
This year there were approximately 154 participants, according to event organizer Dannette Haar, and nearly $12,000 was raised.
Douglas Park Spirit Square was alive and in high spirits despite the poor weather. As participants filtered into the park they were greeted with upbeat tunes from The Rue Saint Georges Sax Ensemble who were playing familiar songs including Disney classics.
The event also included face-painting, a balloon artist and hot dogs and burgers served up by Langley firefighters at the concession.
Before runners took to the start line Terry Fox’s nurse, Alison Ince, 84, shared stories of the Canadian hero and how announcing the news of his death to the world in 1981 was the hardest thing she has ever had to do.
“Thirty-nine years ago, an ordinary young man did extra-ordinary things,” Ince said.
Megan MacDonald, 33, a regular at the run was at the event participating with her family and friends.
“I am a cancer survivor myself of 12 years and we’re running today in honour of my brother Michael,” she said.
MacDonald finds Fox’s story very relatable, as she was diagnosed with cancer in her early 20s.
“To me it’s not about the length that you can run or walk, its that you’re showing your support for people whether you know them or not,” MacDonald said. “I can’t run with my prosthetic leg, but I am out here every year and I walk as long as I can and as far as [I] can, and we’re just out here to be with [our] family and friends and support everybody.”
Haar, 48, will be taking the reigns as head organizer from Margaret McGuire-Grout, who is stepping down from the position due to her responsibilities at work.
“Overall I think the event went really well, it turned out as well as we could hope with the rain,” Haar said. “I think the rain always does make an impact on the attendance, but doesn’t necessarily mean that the donations will be down because some people will still make a donation online to the Langley City run.”
McGuire-Grout was this year’s recipient of the Dave Hall Volunteer Award, and still plans to give her time at the run next year in a different role.
“I was very surprised,” she laughed. “I don’t do it for the recognition… we volunteer because it’s a cause that’s dear to our hearts and we don’t want to see Terry’s dream die.”
McGuire-Grout said Hall, a former Langley City councillor, was instrumental in getting the run back up and running in the community, McGuire-Grout. The award was created after Hall passed away from cancer in 2016 as a way to honour him and recognize a deserving volunteer.
Next year will be the 40th anniversary of the Terry Fox run.