By Dianne Cornish, REVIEW STAFF
Last year’s decision to change the route for Waterdown’s Terry Fox Run proved beneficial for the annual event, garnering more donations, as well as greater participation. As a result, the downtown route, starting and ending at Memorial Park, will be retained this year, with the event set to go on Sunday, Sept. 16.
“We felt a change would be good for everyone,” said site organizer Michael Collette, noting that the new route changed its starting point from the Flamborough Family YMCA to the Hamilton Street park to increase visibility. “It was a good move,” he added, with donations climbing to $5,208 last fall compared to the previous year’s $4,532. The number of participants also rose, from 105 in 2010 to 118 in 2011.
This year, those lacing up their sneakers to take part in the 2.5-kilometre event will follow a clockwise route from the park taking them north along Hamilton Street, east on Parkside Drive, south on Main Street, west along Dundas Street and then north along Hamilton Street on their final leg to the finish line at Memorial Park.
The early morning start of 9 a.m., with registration at 8 a.m., will also return this year, with everything expected to wrap up before noon. Official 2012 Terry Fox T-shirts will be available for purchase by participants and guests.
As in previous years, participation will not be limited to walking the pre-set course; participants can jog, rollerblade or cycle and people in wheelchairs are also welcome, Collette said.
To ensure the safety of everyone, there will be a staggered start, with cyclists and rollerbladers leading off the event, followed by the runners and, lastly, the walkers. A core group of six volunteers, who have consistently helped over the past decade, will be on hand to ensure things run smoothly. “There are always more volunteers who show up on the day of the event,” Collette noted.
The Waterdown Rotary Club, headed by Collette this year, is the sponsor of the annual run, which raises funds for cancer research through the Terry Fox Foundation (TFF). The club covers the City of Hamilton’s road fees ($220) for the event every year; also assisting are Fortinos and Sobeys, which provide free water for all participants.
Last year, the TFF invested about $27.5 million in cancer research and, this year’s funding from the Foundation for research projects in Ontario includes $727,000 for the Juravinski Cancer Centre and $580,000 for McMaster University. “It’s important to let everyone know where the money goes,” Collette said, adding that 84 cents out of every dollar raised goes to cancer research.
The run is named in honour of a young man, who, in 1980, decided to run across Canada to raise funds to find a cure for the disease that resulted in the amputation of his right leg. After running daily for 143 days, the 22-year-old was forced to stop when cancer recurred in his lungs, later causing his death.
For more information about the fundraiser, visit online at www.terryfox.org.