News · Singapore

Terry Fox: He Ran Despite His Cancer Diagnosis. Will You Now Run in His Memory?

by On Nov 12, 2016

There are plenty of running heroes and legends to go around, but Canadian Terry Fox is particularly beloved by Singaporeans who pay tribute to him each year by running in his honour.

Terry Fox: He Ran Despite His Cancer Diagnosis. Will You Now Run in His Memory?

When it came to heart, soul and dedication, nobody outfoxed Terry Fox. The Canadian running legend may as well have had dual-citizenship with Singapore, because he is idolised throughout our nation-state. His story is one that’s humbling: Though young and healthy, Terrance Stanley (Terry) Fox was diagnosed with bone cancer at age 18, but refused to allow the disease to stop him from running.

In 1980, the amputee decided to run across Canada to raise awareness and money, traveling 5,373 km in 143 days before sadly succumbing to his illness.

The race to honour Terry

Canadian marathon organisers were bereft when Terry Fox, just 22 years-old, raced into the sunset after a brave, non-stop battle to confront his cancer. To honour his memory and accomplishments, a nonprofit organization was launched in his name and since 1981, Terry Fox Runs have been staged in more than 60 nations to raise both money and cancer awareness.

Terry’s inspiring words, “Even if I don’t finish, we need others to continue. It’s got to keep going without me,” remain as meaningful today as they have since he was first quoted 35 years ago.

Terry Fox: He Ran Despite His Cancer Diagnosis. Will You Now Run in His Memory?

Terry’s spirit lives on

Ask any runner who is concerned about cancer awareness, research and treatment who they think of first when cancer-focused fundraisers are mentioned and they will not only recall the name Terry Fox but many of the inspiring quotes he left behind. For a young man, he was wise beyond his years and wasn’t shy about saying that he believed in miracles.

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Thus the Terry Fox Run Singapore is all about miracles and hope, which is why so many athletes have already signed up for the next iteration of the charity run scheduled for 26th February 2017. It will be an early morning for participants arriving to warm up around 6:30 a.m. followed by the 7:30 a.m. flag off at Angsana Green, East Coast Parkway. Runners choose between 5km or 10km distances.

Terry Fox: He Ran Despite His Cancer Diagnosis. Will You Now Run in His Memory?

Why you should register

It’s hard to believe that there are Singapore runners who have yet to discover this legendary race, but if you happen to be one of them—or if you’re new to the nation—you’ll want to be part of this effort. At the Terry Fox Run, people are friendlier, the atmosphere is more welcoming and some say that more personal bests are achieved than usual because the cause brings out the very best in competitors!

Of course, what underpins this race is the effort to combat cancer via a close collaboration between the Terry Fox Research Institute and Singapore's cancer-related research facilities and programs. Because this philanthropic effort is so important, it isn’t typical of ordinary marathons.

First, you don’t pay a registration fee. Instead, you buy official gear; a t-shirt or cap emblazoned with the Terry Fox logo—perhaps both. Your run entry ticket comes free with the merchandise you buy. On the other hand, you can make a straight donation and receive a tax deduction for your cash contribution, whether or not you intend to run.

Terry Fox: He Ran Despite His Cancer Diagnosis. Will You Now Run in His Memory?

An event like no other

Would Terry Fox have wanted runners engaged in his namesake event to be jockeying for position, trying to snag as much run-related “stuff” as possible or daring fellow runners to beat them in a mean-spirited way? Of course not. Terry Fox Run Singapore isn’t a competition. It’s a celebration. Unless runners want to compete with themselves, that is!

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Is this marathon organised like other events? It is. Participants pick up t-shirts and caps from noon to 5 p.m. on the 11th, 12th, 18th or 19th of February and don them on race day to show their pride. If, for one reason or another, merchandise goes unclaimed, these “in-kind” donations are sold on race day to boost charity coffers.

There won’t be a bundle spent on a gigantic festival at Angsana Green following the Terry Fox Run, but that doesn’t mean the party won’t get started right after the event. Every walker and runner making a time and financial commitment is likely to contribute to such a festive mood as a result of having helped the cause, and there will be snacks and drinks on hand to sustain participants whose spirits are sure to be upbeat because they've just finished an event that brings the world closer to a cancer cure.

Terry Fox: He Ran Despite His Cancer Diagnosis. Will You Now Run in His Memory?

6 Ways you can help fight cancer in Terry's memory

  • Learn more about Terry and his heroic battle.
  • Register to run with Terry.
  • Become a run sponsor by making your intentions known via e-mail to corporate@terryfoxrunsg.com.
  • Send a donation directly to the charity via bank draft or cheque (The event code is TRF2017).
  • Ask organisers how to get a 250-percent tax deduction if you intend to make a cash donation only.
  • Take pride in knowing that 84 cents of every dollar generated at the Terry Fox Run Singapore goes directly to charitable efforts (in 2016, that amount was 86-cents per dollar). Make 2017 the year even more is generated!

Does a heroic role model come to mind when you are asked to participate in a charitable event? We’d like to know who your hero is and why he or she has earned your respect and devotion.

Aidan is the Editor-in-chief of RunSociety. As a health improvement hacker and explorer, he oversees RunSociety’s Creativity Channel, spanning a wide range of inspirational and enriching topics daily to the running community. Get in touch with him if you have any fresh ideas!

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