The Terry Fox Run in Hay River is again being organized by Brigitte Stephen, who with her children – left to right, Amelie, Mederic and Genevieve – are wearing the T-shirts for this year’s fundraising event.
Paul Bickford/NNSL photo

A pandemic cannot stop the Terry Fox Run in Hay River or across Canada.

However, this year’s fundraising event for cancer research is being described as a ‘virtual’ run in which people will be given a route to complete at their own time on Sept. 20.

Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, there will be no large gathering of participants.

“This year, what we’re going to be doing, because it is done virtually, everybody can do it whenever they want during the day,” said Brigitte Stephen, who is organizing the run for the second year.

She said that means there will be no set time for the event.

“I will have a route mapped out for everybody,” she said. “They can do a five-kilometre or a 10-kilometre.”

Stephen noted there will also be an orienteering aspect to the run for families to enjoy.

She will post a map on Facebook for families to print and that will allow them to find about 10 locations with Terry Fox trivia at every stop.

“And you’ll have to answer the questions and show me the answers on Facebook,” she said. “And then with that, I’ll let everybody know what the answer is.”

Stephen said people can run, walk, bicycle or rollerblade.

“They can do whatever they want,” she said. “I think it will be a great family day personally, doing orienteering or just going for a walk around the town.”

Virtual versions of the Terry Fox Run are being held across Canada, except in some locations where there will be only a small number of participants.

That is not expected to be the case in Hay River, at least judging by the turnout last year when 65 people participated.

“It will be different, for sure,” Stephen said of this year’s event. “I know that the gatherings are fun for families. But this, I think, will be a nice way for families to get out and do something as a family, as a group, and just add to their Sunday as a family day.”

The organizer believes it will still be a great event.

“I just want to keep Terry’s dream alive,” she said. “He was an amazing man. He thought of everybody going through cancer, and it’s nice to give hope to families who are faced with this disease. So if everybody can help out and make a donation it would really help the cause, for sure.”

In 1980, Terry Fox – who had lost a leg to cancer – ran for 143 days and covered 5,373 km in his Marathon of Hope across Canada before he was forced to stop running when cancer appeared in his lungs.

Stephen has no target for how much she would like to see raised in this year’s Terry Fox Run in Hay River.

“I’m pretty happy with whatever we can raise,” she noted. “We did really great last year. Hay River raised $4,070. That was a big increase from the year before, and it would be great if we could raise just as much, but any little bit will help the cause. So I’m not really stressed about the amount that we raise. It’s to really help the cause and continue Terry’s legacy.”

In 2018, the event raised $1,250.

The Terry Fox Run has been held in Hay River since 1981, which was the year that the fundraising event was launched in Canada.

Paul Bickford

Paul Bickford is the reporter for Hay River Hub.

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