Since 1997, the Terry Fox Run in Burnaby has raised more than $180,000 - and pulled in about $23,000 at last year's run alone.
And that's only one of the many Terry Fox Runs happening in the city on Sept. 15.
"It's been going strong in Burnaby since the Marathon of Hope," said local Anna Solnickova, Terry Fox Foundation spokesperson and two-time cancer survivor. "We're hoping to raise $20,000 and we're hoping 350 people come out or more."
At 17 years old, Solnickova found herself facing the same type of cancer Fox had when she was diagnosed with bone cancer around her right knee in 2001.
"(Several) years later it spread to my left lung, again because of research that has been done ... they were able to catch it very early on," she added.
Thanks to surgery and early detection, Solnickova was able to keep her leg and, despite missing the bottom lobe of her left lung, she is able to breathe and walk on her own.
"When I'm walking down the street, you could never tell I had these problems. And I credit that to Terry," she said. "He's the epitome of Canadian heroism and national spirit. It's been incredible."
Donna White, the foundation's provincial director for B.C. and the Yukon, is also a cancer survivor and a Terry Fox fan.
"I've been a Terry Fox fan since he hit the pavement," she said. "Now as a survivor of this because of what Terry did, I get to work for my hero every single day."
Although she could not provide Burnaby-specific numbers to how much city residents have raised for the run overall, she said the city is part of the 110 runs happening in B.C. and the Yukon that the foundation oversees.
"We have 110 community events, 135 daycare centres, 40 senior centres and close to 1,400 schools holding events this year," White said. "(Simon Fraser University) also has its own event."
The foundation has raised more than $600 million for cancer research worldwide, and a chunk of that money played a big role in a major lung cancer research breakthrough announced last week. The Terry Fox Research Institute spearheaded a study that led to a breakthrough for early detection among lung cancer patients at high risk using a low-dose computerized tomography (CT) scan. "A lot of breakthroughs are in theory or concept, but not practical breakthroughs that affect how it improves our health," said Dr. Victor Ling, president and scientific director of the Terry Fox Research Institute. "This particular
breakthrough has implications, particularly for people who are at risk of lung cancer. Usually by the time you detect lung cancer it is late in the day; often people cough up blood or have all sorts of other problems and the cancer may have spread widely in the lung or other parts of the body already."
With the CT scan, the high resolution for looking at abnormalities found in the lungs gives the doctor the opportunity to detect lung cancer earlier, he added.
More than 2,500 people participated in the Canada-wide study, which the B.C. Cancer Agency is now reviewing, according to Ling. Lung cancer kills more than 20,000 Canadians a year and it is the primary cause of cancer deaths in Canada and around the world.
"This is huge," he said about the study. "So how good is this predictive test? Right now, it's with a 90 per cent accuracy rate, which is very good."
The 33rd annual Terry Fox Run on Sunday, Sept. 15 at Swangard Stadium offers two-, five-and 10-kilometre routes that are walk, jog, stroller and wheelchair friendly.
Registration starts at 9:30 a.m., followed by the ceremony at 10 a.m. and the run begins at 10:20 a.m. There will be a warm-up, on-site first aid and a tent for kids with face painting and fun activities.
For more information, visit www.terryfox.org.
HOW MUCH DID YOU GIVE?
. More than 7,800 Burnaby residents have donated more than 27,900 gifts to the B.C. Cancer Foundation in the last five years.
. In 2012, the B.C. Cancer Foundation's largest gift in history was made by a Burnaby resident, through the Jambor-McCarthy Legacy - it was $21.4 million.
. The Burnaby Terry Fox Run's best years (since 2004) were in 2005, which raised $19,838; 2010, which raised $20,965; and in 2012, which raised $23,189.
© Copyright 2013