Updated: Dec 28, 2020
Terry Fox Run
Thursday, September 29 is the annual Terry Fox School Run in Canada and, as always, Finn has taken this event seriously.
Going door to door (generally rollerblading), Finn has solicited sponsorship and raised over $900 for this meaningful cause. Normally we have quietly congratulated Finn on his fundraising efforts but have avoided promoting them as it really is about the Terry Fox legacy and a cure for cancer.
Yet this year, while going door to door, a resident of one house told Finn; “there already is a cure for cancer, but it is being hidden for drug profits. Moreover (sic), the Terry Fox family is corrupt.”
Obviously we inherently disagree, but I thought I should have a look through their mission statement, financial statements, and motives. Just to be sure!
The memorial to Terry Fox in Vancouver
For those of you (mostly non-Canadians) who may not know Terry Fox (if you have been on tour with me, you certainly will know the story), here is the Foundation’s Mission Statement directly from their website:
Terry Fox was diagnosed with osteogenic sarcoma (bone cancer) in his right leg in 1977 and had his leg amputated 15 cm (six inches) above the knee. While in hospital, Terry was so overcome by the suffering of other cancer patients that he decided to run across Canada to raise money for cancer research. He called his journey the Marathon of Hope.
Terry’s Marathon of Hope took place in 1980 with the simple objective of informing Canadians of the importance of finding a cure for cancer. With fierce determination, he ran an average of 42 kilometres (26 miles) every day for 143 days. Terry was forced to end his run on September 1, 1980 when the cancer spread to his lungs.
By February 1, 1981, Terry’s dream of raising $1 for every Canadian was realized – the Terry Fox Marathon of Hope fund totaled $24.17 million. Terry died in June 1981.
On May 26, 1988, The Terry Fox Run became a Trust, independent from the Canadian Cancer Society, and received tax-exempt charitable registration as a public foundation. In addition to our signature and long-standing National Terry Fox Run Day in September of each year, The Terry Fox Foundation is proud to include in its events portfolio The National School Run Day.
The Terry Fox Foundation is responsible for supporting close to $20 million in discovery based research each year in Canada – all monies raised outside Canada must be distributed to (a) an institute approved by the Foundation and its advisors or (b) remitted to Canada. The Terry Fox Research Institute (TFRI) is a recipient of TFF funding for translational research. TFRI is an exciting new initiative whose goal is to translate rapidly today’s best science into better cancer treatment and diagnosis for all Canadians. The Institute will bring scientists and clinicians together across the country into a functionally integrated, geographically dispersed Institute with nodes in several provinces.
The Foundation recognizes the duality of its mandate. Not only does it raise money for research, but it also continues to share the story of Terry Fox. The Terry Fox Foundation strives to maintain the heroic effort and integrity that Terry embodied.
It is a grassroots organization that does not allow the Terry Fox name or likeness to be commercialized or conjoined with other worthy causes. To date, The Terry Fox Foundation has raised over $700 million for cancer research.
In a nutshell, the Foundation functions on 16%, guaranteeing .84 cents on every dollar goes directly to cancer research. I even read through their financial statements and was entirely satisfied the foundation is abiding by the clear guidelines as established by Terry himself.
In addition to cancer research, the Foundation’s secondary mandate of maintaining Terry’s legacy is important. This, too, I support unreservedly. The Terry Fox story moved our child and
Fundraising at Finn’s School
has encouraged community awareness and individual empowerment.
I have never been convinced by “The Tipping Point” arguments, as so many people in our global system are disenfranchised, however when Terry Fox set out in 1980 to raise $1 from each Canadian, he did make a massive difference.
Travelling as much as we do, we have witnessed real poverty and real injustice. We also know the overwhelming majority of people are good and are motivated by very similar values of family, community and the pursuit of happiness. Moreover, the world is not a simple “us-them.” Just as cancer knows no borders, we collectively have far more in common than we do differences.
Today in Canada and worldwide, people are living with cancer, rather than dying of cancer. This is important.
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