Terry Fox Run happens virtually, with support of Barrie's million-dollar man
Four decades after Terry Fox's Marathon of Hope, his legacy is continuing throughout the country.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic forcing a format change, the 41st annual Terry Fox Run continued. In Barrie, veteran Will Dwyer participated once again, continuing his streak of never missing a run.
"This is a big day. We've got to find a cure for Terry Fox," says 96-year-old Dwyer. "We got to fight it and keep going. That's what Terry said. He couldn't go on, and people must pick up where he left off. So that's what I'm doing."
Dwyer has played an integral part in the fundraising efforts for the foundation locally over the last four decades. Over those years, the Barrie chapter of the foundation has raised more than $2.7-million. Dwyer himself has brought in nearly half of that, raising more than $1.2-million himself.
"I think Will is just proof that no matter what, anybody can do it," says Marilyn Nigro, the chair of the Barrie Terry Fox Committee. "41 years of dedication, and there's a lot of other people who have also participated in Terry Fox for 41 years, so it just demonstrates that you should get out, you should try like Terry and don't like anything hold you back."
The run took on a new format this year. Participants created their own routes to walk or run. Along with Barrie's million-dollar man Will Dwyer, members of the local committee were collecting donations and selling t-shirts in the city's downtown core.
"We are all here supporting Terry's dream," says Nigro. "Terry wanted the marathon to continue, and we see it continuing in Canada, and we see it continuing in 50 countries around the world. So I think everybody is trying to support that dream and support the hope that one day there will be a cure for cancer."
One of those people inspired by Fox is Jordan Richardson, who completed a 42.2-kilometre run this morning as part of a 10-month mission that ended today.
In November of last year, Richardson was fundraising for men's mental health, doing a stair climb challenge to raise funds. While he often struggled through the challenge, a mural of Terry Fox in his gym gave him hope and was the genesis of his next challenge.
"So after a little bit of research that night, I started the next day and decided that I was going to finish what he couldn't because I don't know if I would have been able to finish what I was doing if it wasn't for him," says Richardson.
That's when he decided to finish the run Terry Fox was never able to. Over the last 10 months, Richardson ran the approximately 3,000 kilometres Fox was forced to abandon when his cancer returned.
Richardson, who completed much of the run outside during the winter months, says it did take a toll on his body. But the memory of Terry kept him going.
"But every time I would think about stopping, I just say Terry was there for me to inspire me when I needed it, so I'm going to keep going for him and hopefully inspire somebody else along the way," Richardson says. "Because while I'm trying to make one big difference, I can hopefully make 1,000 little ones as well."
Overall, Richardson raised $3,000 for the Terry Fox Foundation.
Will Dwyer, meanwhile, has raised an impressive $1.2-million over the last 41 years and is working towards bringing in another million dollars.
"We'll keep going," says Dwyer. "Hopefully, we can find a real cure!"
If you want to help Will Dwyer reach his goal, click here.