At the beginning of the year Terry Fox Run organizer Diane Peacock attended an annual organizers’ workshop where she had the opportunity to hear the nurse who looked after Terry speak.
“She’s 83 years old and made the trip from Vancouver” said Peacock. “Her speech had us laughing and crying as she told the story about Terry’s many hospital stays and especially that last week of his life in 1981.”
Peacock’s speech commemorating the start of the 25th Terry Fox Run held in Minden on Sept. 16 had the same effect on the crowd gathered at the community centre. It was an emotional one filled with tears remembering friends family and community members who had struggled with a cancer diagnosis but also joy while celebrating survivors and the event itself. She called for a moment of silence acknowledging those who have died of the disease in the past year but also a round of applause when “Terry’s Team Members” a group of community members who have survived cancer walked together to bagpipes played by Fraser MacDonald.
“These people have showed strength and spirit and they’ve battled on” she said.
Peacock who has loyally organized the annual run alongside a committee of volunteers for the past 12 years began her speech by paying tribute to Don Crowe who died last year but had actively helped contribute to the event over its 25-year run in Minden. Members of the Crowe family added Don’s photo to a photo memory board that is featured at the run.
“Each year that I’ve been organizing the run has been memorable to me in some way but I think 2018 will be at the top of my list for a very long time” said Peacock.
She said that it was also at that annual organizers’ workshop that she was pulled aside by the provincial director.
“[She] told me something that would blow my socks off an item on my Terry Fox bucket list was about to come true” said Peacock. Minden had been chosen to host a visit from Terry’s older brother Fred Fox which occurred on Sept. 16.
The Terry Fox Foundation and the Terry Fox Run are important to Peacock who has lost members of family to cancer. At the event she tearfully introduced her great niece whose cancer has been in remission for nine years.
“People ask me ‘why do you organize the Terry Fox Run?’” said Peacock in her speech. “To keep Terry’s dream alive and also because this is a foundation that I believe in … I hear every year at our workshops that research that Terry Fox Research Institute is funding is working. Researchers like Dr. John Bell in Ottawa and his use of lab-made viruses to kill cancer cells. Hopefully one day this will mean no more chemo. Research for the TFRI has now made it possible for childhood leukemias to have an 85 per cent cure rate. That research means now that patients diagnosed with osteogenic sarcoma the cancer that Terry had have a better prognosis and better treatments. Our Terry’s Team Members are proof that the money we raise does make a difference.”
The unofficial total raised for this year’s event was $17701.
MP Jamie Schmale and MPP Laurie Scott both spoke prior to the run beginning.
“I have no doubt that unfortunately the sad reality is each and every one of us probably knows someone or has a family member or friend battling cancer” said Schmale who said a cure will be found. “This is what small town is all about raising money for a great cause.”
Minden Hills Mayor Brent Devolin praised the effort of the Terry Fox Run committee as well as participants for their work in making the event successful.
Members of the run committee are Jeanne Anthon Barb Millington Pat Brezina Jennifer Hughey Dana Manning Joan and Steve Taylor Rozanne Hynard Cindy O’Hanley Sue Smallwood and Ron and Linda Nesbitt. Peacock also acknowledged volunteer Nancy Lowes who has volunteered for the event for 17 years and the support she has received from husband Perry and daughter Caitlin who this year raised almost $800 for the run.
Sunday’s event MCed by Jack Brezina included a barbecue live music and a silent auction with more than 70 items.