I often joke that there’s no point in running a race if you don’t get a medal at the end of it. In the three years I’ve been running races, I’ve managed to amass quite the medal collection, and while it’s true that the bling is often my biggest motivator in choosing races, sometimes runs can offer something more rewarding.
This is the case with the Terry Fox Run happening this Saturday, September 16th at the Bois de Boulogne in Paris, with all proceeds going towards cancer research.
As a Canadian, I am well acquainted with the inspiring story of Terry Fox. With one leg already amputated due to cancer, Terry Fox began the Marathon of Hope in Newfoundland, Canada on April 12th, 1980. He planned on running across Canada with the goal of raising $1 from each of Canada’s then 24 million people for cancer research. He raised $1.7 million several months into his marathon when his cancer returned and he was forced to end his run just outside of Thunder Bay, Ontario. Terry Fox died a year later at the age of 22, but that was just the beginning of his legacy.
In September 1981, the first annual Terry Fox Run was held, with more than 300,000 participants taking part and $3.5 million raised. At Terry’s request, this run was non-competitive and untimed, with participants allowed to run, walk, or bike the course. The Terry Fox Run has evolved into an annual global event with millions of participants from 60 different countries, and to date over $650 million has been raised for cancer research in his name.
Today, my Mom serves as the chair of the local Terry Fox Run in my hometown, and to my immense joy, I recently discovered that there is a Terry Fox Run here in my adopted city of Paris. Since I was a kid, my Mom would often tell me the story of how she saw Terry Fox in person during the Marathon of Hope. This motivated me to participate in the Terry Fox Run every year at school when I was a child. As a young adult, I attended the same university as Terry Fox, where I would walk by his statue every day on my way to class.
So you know where I will be on Saturday, September 16th: In the Bois de Boulogne to support the 7th annual Terry Fox Run organized by the Canadian’s Women’s Group in Paris and the Canadian Embassy. The course will be a one-kilometer loop around the Lac Supérieur, and participants are invited to walk, run, cycle, scoot, or inline skate as many loops as they wish. The event will run from 11am to 1pm, and all proceeds will go towards the Terry Fox Foundation of Canada for Cancer Research and the Curie Institute of France.
You can still register for the Terry Fox Run HERE
For once, I will not be running, but I will be at this event as a volunteer and I hope you’ll consider joining us not only for the run but also for the picnic afterward. While I love my adopted country of France, it is wonderful to have these connections to home and to be able to participate in a national event even when I’m an ocean away. There may not be any bling at the finish line, but there’s something far more important — the knowledge that we’re continuing a legacy that has now spanned generations, continents, and who knows how many medical breakthroughs.
I don’t know anyone whose life hasn’t been touched by cancer in some way, so even if you can’t attend the run, please consider giving a donation to either one of these worthy cancer organizations: Terry Fox Foundation of Canada for Cancer Research and the Curie Institute of France. And for those of you participating, I look forward to sharing this inspiring experience with you!