The annual Terry Fox Run in Maple Ridge on Sunday raised a record amount for cancer research, thanks in part to the family and friends of a beloved volunteer.
More than 800 people participated in the local run, held at the Hammond Community Centre, close to double the amount anticipated. That’s the biggest turnout organizer Betty Levens has seen in her 12 years volunteering with the local event. What’s more, the local run raised more than $34,000 for cancer research, close to $9,000 more than the previous record.
“The turnout was just incredible this year,” said Levens.
She attributes much of the increased turnout not only to sunny skies, but to the friends and family of former RCMP officer and local volunteer Fred Elder, who died Aug. 25 of bile-duct cancer after being diagnosed three and a half years ago. A 35-year veteran of the RCMP, he retired from service last month, after receiving the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in July in honour of his contributions to the community.
Elder, 59, helped out with more than 20 Terry Fox Runs, and many who came out Sunday were there to help find a cure the disease that took his life, as well as that of his sister Gail, two years ago.
School board trustee Kathy Marshall was a good friend of Elder’s, and has adopted his Yorkshire terrier cross, Leo, whom she brought to the run.
Marshall said the hope was to raise $5,000 in Elder’s name for the Terry Fox Run. In the end, “Team Elder” raised double that, with more than $10,000.
“It was overwhelming to see so many people come out for Fred and for Terry Fox,” said Marshall. “He would have been so proud this community, because that’s what he was all about.”
Those who didn’t participate in Sunday’s run can still support the Terry Fox Foundation’s efforts to find a cure for cancer. Elementary and secondary schools across the district will participate in the Terry Fox Foundation’s School Run Day on Thursday, Sept. 27.
Students at Pitt Meadows Elementary School are hoping to raise more than $15,000 to support cancer search, more than double what they raised last year.
Teacher Jason Severud said the staff at the school have devised some incentives to help motivate the students in their fundraising efforts.
“We are going to do something funny or ridiculous for every $1,000 raised,” he said.
Teachers there are offering to dress up like super heroes, kiss a farm animal, let students do their makeup, have students throw eggs at them, and even sing karaoke at a school assembly.
Should the students manage to raise $15,000, teacher Alison Wakeling has even promised to shave her head in front of the
“The kids are having a great time with it,” said principal Nicole Neggers, who will get “slimed” should the students reach $14,000 raised.
To donate to the Pitt Meadows Elementary visit the school’s website at schools.sd42.ca/pme
• For more information about the Terry Fox Foundation’s School Run Day on Thursday, Sept. 27, visit www.terryfox.org/SchoolRun.