2014 Terry Fox Run: new leaders, new era

August 13, 2014   ·   0 Comments

Most North Americans know very well the story of Terry Fox, and his journey to run across the country to raise awareness and money for cancer research. Each year, communities Canada-wide hosts runs and walks in honour of this fallen hero, who inspired many to push forward and do as he did.

On September 14, the organizers behind the Orangeville run will be hosting the 34th annual local Terry Fox Run. While the run has been in the hands of local resident Mark Whitcombe, for the last eight years and before that by Greg Verner, the leadership has been passed along to a team of three volunteers: Shannon McGinnis, Julie Koch and Wendy Hudson.

“The Terry Fox Run has been running really well and we’ve had great support from the community over the years,” said Mr. Whitcombe.

“It’s time for some new ideas, and the three women are taking it over and already moving it in some solid, good directions. This is going to be really good for the town.”

The group met on Wednesday of last week (minus Ms. Hudson) to pose for pictures, acknowledging the official ‘passing on’ of the leadership as well as the commencement of their campaigning period for the September walk.

“We are hoping to continue on with the progress that Mark has put into place and being able to take what’s already there and expand it,” said Ms. McGinnis. “We would like to see it extend to some new areas and bring in new ideas. New people always bring in a new mindset of where we can go.”

She added that part of the reason continuing on the tradition of the run, is because there is still a long way to go before Terry’s goal is achieved.

“We haven’t met the goal to conquer cancer yet,” said Ms. McGinnis. “It’s an amazing Canadian story of somebody that had a dream and has instilled that dream not just in his fellow Canadians, but in people all around the world.”

Ms. Koch, who is originally from the States, said that even her family knows who Terry Fox is and found inspiration in his story.

“How many Americans know much about Canadian history?” she said. “Not many, but they do know who Terry Fox was because he made such an impact in the fight against cancer. He inspired and continues to inspire people to fight for that change.”

The event typically sees about 25 to 30 volunteers, but they are always looking for more, whether it’s students helping out for community service hours or members of the community looking to contribute.

“There’s a lot of work that needs to be done the day of,” said Mr. Whitcombe. “But there is also a lot that needs to be done in the weeks leading up to the run. The more volunteers, the easier it is, and the more ideas are generated because of everyone coming together.”

The new leadership team is excited to move forward and see where the next wave of runs and events carries them.

“It’s nice to be able to take a step forward and fill in a new role,” said Ms. McGinnis. “We get to kind of push it into a different direction and we’re looking forward to encouraging more people to be involved.”

Anyone interested in volunteering or participating in the run can visit the Terry Fox Run website at

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