Social media played a big role in this year's Terry Fox Runs, with organizers seeing higher participation and fundraising levels than last year's 30th anniversary.
Donna White, provincial director for the BC/Yukon Terry Fox Foundation, told The Tri-City News yesterday online and smartphone technology to allow direct donations proved to be a boon for the charity, which has raised more than $500 million for cancer research in the PoCo hero's name over the last three decades.
As well, on Sunday - the day 770 communities held Terry Fox Runs across Canada - the foundation's Facebook page hit the 20,000 "friends" mark; since then, dozens of stories and photos from Run participants have been uploaded.
"It's nice to see that Terry's legacy lives on strongly," White said.
In the Tri-Cities, the numbers were up for the Hometown Run in PoCo, where about 3,500 people on foot, bike and inline skates braved early showers to hear Fox's dad, Rolly, talk about his late wife, Betty, who died in June, and to honour Terry Fox's efforts.
PoCo Run organizer and social media guru Dave Teixeira, who encouraged the crowd to share their Twitter comments using the hashtag #tfrunpoco, said while he was pleased with the turnout, the cold, wet weather deterred many people from leaving their homes.
"It's our biggest challenge," he said. "People open their door at 7:30 a.m., see the rain and say, 'Next year.'"
Emceed by cancer survivor and Terry Fox's soccer coach Bruce Moore, the PoCo Run also drew Premier Christy Clark, BC NDP leader Adrian Dix, Mayor Greg Moore and Jim Terrion, a Prince George resident who is deaf and is now more than halfway to his $1 million fundraising goal for the foundation.
As of press time yesterday, the final dollar figure had not been revealed for the Hometown Run, though last year's event brought in $44,000 from the 620 participants.
Meanwhile, for the second annual Terry Fox Run in Coquitlam, which was organized by Marta Jackson, about 240 people took part, down significantly from the 600 attendees for the first Run. Coquitlam Coun. Selina Robinson, the event emcee, said nearly $15,000 was collected, two-thirds from students at Dr. Charles Best secondary.
In Port Moody, Run organizer Coun. Mike Clay said he counted about 200 runners, walkers and cyclists who contributed $5,500 to the cause, about the same as last year, when a downpour also kept people away.
And in Anmore, Coun. Kerri Palmer Isaak, the Run organizer, reported about 100 participants and more than $1,000 collected. Before the event, Palmer Isaak had worried about the weather but the sky cleared in time for the Run, which started two hours later than the other three Tri-City Runs and was tied to the Ma Murray Days celebrations at Spirit Park.
Terez Payette of Astoria Retirement Living also told The Tri-City News her PoCo seniors' group reaped $1,700 for the foundation from its Silver Fox Walk and Roll on Sunday.
Worldwide, the Terry Fox Run is the largest single-day fundraiser for cancer research. To donate online, visit, terryfox.org.
The Terry Fox Foundation is now gearing up for the annual National Terry Fox School Run, which takes place Sept. 28 at 8,500 schools across the country.