Local organizers are busy preparing for the 43rd annual Terry Fox Run happening on Sunday.

The event will start at the Vanier Collegiate football field (324 MacDonald Street). In-person registration begins at 10:30 a.m. with the run beginning at 11 a.m. Participants can also register online before the event.

There are several race lengths available for participants including a 400 metre option (walking track), 5 km and 10 km. Families are encouraged to bring the little ones out, as there will be an inflatable obstacle course, outdoor lawn games, and face painting. Those looking to grab a bite to eat can purchase a hot dog for a donation.

"Really, we're just trying to appeal to the masses and get everybody out on Sunday," said local run organizer Stephanie Meyer.

Donations can be made online or in-person at the event on Sunday. There is no minimum donation and no registration fee. Organizers will be accepting cash and cheques. There will also be electronic options available including the new Pledge app. Terry Fox Run T-shirts will also be available for purchase on Sunday with proceeds going towards cancer research. Adult sizes are $25, with youth shirts costing $20. This year's shirt was designed in collaboration with actor Ryan Reynolds. Those looking to purchase a shirt can also email terryfoxrunmj@gmail.com.

Terry Fox shirtTerry Fox Run T-shirts will be available for purchase at the event on Sunday.

Meyer started volunteering locally about five years ago. This is her second year organizing the Moose Jaw event.

She says cancer seems to touch everybody in some way.

"I know me personally, I've had that touch me and my family. It was always a very helpless feeling, I found, to know that we were at the mercy of medicine and technology to advance and everything to catch up to what your family member, in my case, my sister needed and watching her struggle and her strength and aligning that with what Terry stood food, gave me an opportunity to say, instead of sitting by and being helpless, I can get involved instead. I encourage people to do that at any point if you're feeling that way. It allows you to take your power back a little bit against something that takes it away so easily."

Meyer notes she's been seeing an increase in funds raised locally over the past few years, with Moose Javians donating roughly $6,800 last year with 65 participants taking part in the run.

Terry's older brother Fred Fox has been travelling across the country to help promote the event and has been meeting with cancer survivors who have benefitted from money raised by the Terry Fox Foundation.

Fred was in Moose Jaw on Sept. 9 making a stop at the Wakamow Farmer's Market.

He's amazed at what the Terry Fox Run has become.

"Terry could never have imagined that 43 years ago, when he was pounding out those miles every single day," said Fox. "It's the dedication, commitment of volunteers, giving of their time. It doesn't happen without that hard work."

Terry lost his leg to osteogenic sarcoma at age 18. After 16 months of treatment, he decided to run across Canada to raise money for cancer research in a Marathon of Hope.

On Sept. 1, after 143 days and 5,373 kilometres, Terry was forced to stop running outside of Thunder Bay, Ontario as the cancer had spread to his lungs. Terry continued to talk about the importance of donating to cancer research and asked Canadians to continue to support his Marathon of Hope.

Terry died on June 28, 1981 at the age 22.

Terry Fox shirtThis year's shirt was designed in collaboration with actor Ryan Reynolds.

Thousands of Canadians from nearly 600 communities will be participating in the Terry Fox Run this Sunday. The following week, the Terry Fox School Run will take place with more than three million students and 10,000 schools participating across the country including those here in Moose Jaw.

"It's cool. I can remember back in the early 90's going to schools and speaking at schools and there were still kids in schools that may have seen Terry, may have watched him on the news and speaking," continued Fox. "I always say that Terry never gets older. He's still that 21, 22-year-old kid that's running across Canada. Kids can relate to him and all the things that Terry believed in. Hard work, determination, never giving up, anything is possible. It's such a good lesson for kids to follow those kinds of examples as well."

Earlier this year the Terry Fox Foundation gave Canadians the opportunity to submit their own personal #DearTerry messages online.

"When Terry was forced to stop his run on September 1 of 1980 in Thunder Bay, he came home, mom and dad received over 60,000 pieces of mail at their doorstep over a period of time and cards and letters of love and support for Terry and you can imagine that many of those letters and cards started with the words 'Dear Terry'," explained Fox. "It's kind of a tribute to all those who supported Terry at the time and they were making donations of course. Terry had this goal of raising a dollar for every Canadian and it's those cards and letters with cheques or maybe money thrown in an envelope that got Terry to that goal of raising $24.2 million dollars."

Before his passing Terry had achieved his goal of $1 from every Canadian.

Fred encourages Canadians to go online and submit their own #DearTerry messages explaining how Terry has impacted their lives. There are also postcards that people can write on and send in the mail.

The Terry Fox Foundation is a leading national investor in cancer research having raised over $850 million.

"The most important part of it is research," added Fox. "That's what Terry wanted to do in 1977 when he was diagnosed with cancer. He found that not a lot of money was being invested in cancer research in this country and he wanted to change that. Over the years, close to $900 million has been raised for cancer research in this country and it's impacted cancer research. Terry changed the whole landscape of research in this country. Cancer patients have benefitted from that. Survival rates are so much better than they were 10, 20, 45 years ago when Terry was diagnosed and we get an opportunity to meet those people all the time."

Fox mentioned that fundraising took a hit during the pandemic, but donations have bounced back in the past couple of years. Last year, the Terry Fox Foundation raised over $30 million.

Everyone is encouraged to come out to the family event on Sunday and walk, run, or cycle.

"We want everybody to come out and not only remember and acknowledge what Terry did in 1980 but come and remember somebody that you know that's been touched by cancer," concluded Fox.

The Moose Jaw Co-op hosted a BBQ fundraiser on Friday raising $930.70 for the Terry Fox Foundation.

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