Canadians living in Southern California will converge 9am Saturday Sept. 17 atop Elysian Park to participate in the Terry Fox Run Los Angeles to benefit cancer research. Hosted by Canadians Abroad, the event honors the legacy of Terry Fox, one of Canada’s greatest heroes, and supports the national run which has been a Canadian tradition since 1981.
Each participant will receive a memorial T-shirt, creating a moving red and white symbol of Canadian pride along the 5k route. In keeping with Fox’s wishes, the event is a volunteer-led, all-inclusive, non-competitive effort with no corporate sponsorship or fund-raising minimums. Participants are welcome to jog, walk, skateboard, roller blade or skip to the finish line.
Billing the event as a star studded sweat-fest, organizers hope to raise funds for cancer research via runners and direct donations to the Terry Fox Foundation. Scheduled participants include Canadians working in various aspects of the entertainment business, many of whom will be honored at the 62nd Emmy Awards ceremony September 18. Canadian-based productions and thespians alike garnered 28 Prime Time Emmy Nominations this year.
“It takes much more than just research scientists to find ways to prevent, treat and cure cancer. It takes a community effort!” said Dr. Jane Figueiredo, Assistant Professor of Preventive Medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. “Terry Fox’s Marathon of Hope galvanized the entire Canadian community to raise more money in a single event for cancer research than the Canadian Cancer Society in 1981. Now that’s how important our community is to funding research that is making significant progress in the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and quality of life of
those of us living with cancer.” Figueiredo, a longstanding advocate for cancer prevention, was quoted in a June 2011 article in Men’s Health magazine on prostate cancer. “It’s a proud weekend to be a Canadian and an Angeleno. We welcome everyone to join us in the Terry Fox Run to raise funds for cancer research.”
The timing of this year’s run is poignant for Canadians, who just weeks ago lost Jack Layton, leader of Canada’s Official Opposition Party, to the disease. “Please don’t be discouraged that my own journey hasn’t gone as well as I had hoped,” wrote Layton in his letter to Canada. “You must not lose your own hope. Treatments and therapies have never been better in the face of this disease. You have every reason to be optimistic, determined, and focused on the future.”
Fox was diagnosed with a form of bone cancer at the age of 19. In 1980, with an artificial leg, he embarked on a cross-Canada run to raise money and awareness for cancer research. Although his illness ended the run after 143 days and 3,339 miles, Fox’s effort made him a Canadian hero. Fox lost his battle with cancer in June of 1981, at the age of 22. But his dream; his mission continues.
Today, the run is held annually in countries around the globe and has far exceeded Fox’s dream of raising one dollar for every Canadian ($24 million in 1981.) In Canada, the annual run is held the second Sunday after Labor Day. According to the foundations’ international division newsletter, there are events being held this month at the Canadian Embassy in Cairo, Egypt, in Chennai, India and the NATO Joint Force Command Headquarters in Brunssum, Netherlands.
The Canadian effort here will take place amidst a city-wide prostate cancer awareness campaign starting Friday, September 16. That effort, as reported the LA Times, will see Los Angeles City Hall and other local landmarks bathed in blue light for three days. Fox’s vision was to raise research funds to identify better ways to prevent, screen and treat all types of cancer.
With more than 3,500 members, Canadians Abroad is the largest Canadian expat organization in Southern California. Formed in 1998 for social and professional networking, Canadians Abroad hosts numerous events throughout the year; for holiday celebrations, sport, cultural and academic events. Members also support businesses, non-profit organizations and government entities to strengthen Canada-US ties in Southern California.