TERRY FOX RUN: Military do their part for PoCo hero
While Canadians lace up their runners next Sunday to raise money for the charity named after Port Coquitlam hero Terry Fox, hundreds of Canadian soldiers will also be joining the cause in a dusty, war-torn land thousands of kilometres from home.
Among those taking part in the annual Terry Fox Run on Sept. 16 will be servicemen and women from Camp KAIA-N, based at the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan.
Run organizer RCAF Maj. Art Brown, a cancer survivor who has taken part in Fox Runs with his grandchildren in Manitoba, said his course will be a 5- and 10-km circuit around the base; funds raised from the event will go to the Terry Fox Foundation, which in its 31 years has collected half of billion dollars to aid cancer research.
And while Brown and his comrades are committed, other factors could get in the way of the run. "There are so many things that can affect the outcome," he said. "Although our camps are relatively secure areas, we must always be prepared for hostile acts or heightened security that could stop or postpone the run."
Other Canadian military camps taking part in the Fox Run are Eggers, Phoenix, Blackhorse and Dubbs — all of which work under NATO — and "I expect that some of the other nations will have participants," Brown said, such as the United Kingdom and the U.S.
Lt. Col. Paul Hale said Camp Eggers will host its Terry Fox Run at the International Security Assistance Force compound on Sept. 14 — a Friday, which is the Afghan equivalent of a weekend and a slow day. "Due to the security situation and possibilities of Taliban attacks, it is not feasible or safe to do runs in open areas," he wrote in his email.
Camp Eggers plans to raise at least $5,000 and will be making a symbolic presentation to Canadian ambassador Glenn Davidson at the end of the run, Hale said.
Judith Fox-Alder, the foundation's international director, said the organization is proud of the Terry Fox Run efforts made by Canadian military around the world.
"Terry Fox is an excellent role model for Canadian soldiers as his story of finding a cure for cancer is one of great heroism and courage," she said. "We are very grateful and honoured that the Canadian military wish to organize Terry Fox events in Kabul despite the challenges they face on a daily basis.
"Their courage and bravery keeps us in a constant state of gratitude."
TRI-CITY FOX RUNS
The Tri-Cities is hosting three Terry Fox Runs on Sunday, Sept. 16:
• the Hometown Run in Port Coquitlam (Hyde Creek rec centre, 10 a.m. start);
• Coquitlam (Blue Mountain Park, noon start);
• and Port Moody (Rocky Point Park, 10 a.m. start).
For more information on the runs or to donate to the Terry Fox Foundation, visit terryfox.org.
AROUND THE WORLD
In Terry Fox Runs last year outside of Canada...
• International participants: 1.3 million
• Funds raised internationally: $1.2 million
• Countries hosting Fox runs: 30