Volunteers are gearing up for the 34th annual Terry Fox Run scheduled for Sept. 14 in Central Park.
Event organizer Anna Solnickova said if the weather cooperates, she expects upwards of 300 participants. "In the past, we averaged about 250 to 280 people."
Last year, almost $18,000 was raised in Burnaby. "That's a little bit low because we usually have around $20,000 in donations, so even though we had more people come out, I guess they donated less or had done so online which isn't counted towards our site," Solnickova said.
Fox was 18-years-old when he was diagnosed with bone cancer, also known as osteogenic sarcoma. After having his leg amputated six inches above the knee, Fox announced he wanted to run across Canada in order to raise money for cancer research.
His Marathon of Hope, which looked to raise $1 from every Canadian, started in St. John's, N.L. on April 12, 1980 and lasted 143 days. Fox was forced to stop in Thunder Bay, Ont. because the cancer had returned and spread to his lungs. He passed away at Royal Columbian Hospital in New West on June 28, 1981.
Solnickova, a two-time cancer survivor, said she has seen the results of funded research. "I had the exact same cancer Terry had. I didn't have to have my leg amputated because of what he started," she said. "So many more people are able to keep their limbs and beat this disease because of improvements in medicine."
The 29-year-old said Fox's dream has continued to grow over the years because he was a selfless hero.
"When he started, he didn't ask for anything other than the $1. He didn't want corporations to profit from his efforts and he did not accept corporate sponsorship," she said. "That still stands true today."
Registration for the event starts at 9 a.m. on Sept. 14. The run has a two, five and 10-kilometre route and will get underway around 10:20 a.m. after a short ceremony. Refreshments and light snacks will be provided.
Solnickova is still in need of some volunteers. Those interested are asked to call 604-716-2963. For more information, visit terryfox.org.