Community Papers

Chilliwack Terry Fox run is back on track

After an apprehensive wait, Chilliwack is back on track to host a Terry Fox run this fall.

The Terry Fox Foundation found itself with some shoes to fill when former Chilliwack co-ordinator Margaret Kostrzewa stepped down after several years of organizing the annual run.

Those shoes stayed empty a little longer than provincial co-ordinators were strictly comfortable with; the run is only a few short months away, and organizers all over the country are gearing up in earnest.

But Catherine Hodgson, B.C. and Yukon promotions and media assistant for the Terry Fox Foundation, confirmed this past Tuesday that a few people have expressed interest in taking on the position, and the Foundation expects to have someone officially in the role by next week.

Cancelling the race was never the first thought in their minds, she said, but neither was it the last. Abbotsford found itself in the same position last year, and ended up without a local run.

“We were searching and searching and searching for a run organizer, couldn’t find one, and had to unfortunately cancel the event,” Hodgson said.

Too late, the Foundation saw an outpouring of community support.

“About a week before [the run] we had this uproar from the community—people saying, ‘Hey, I would have done it! Where’s our run?’”

Hodgson explained. “We were sort of laughing and saying, ‘Where were you three months ago?’”

It wasn’t a lack of community support that saw the run cancelled, but a disconnect between interested volunteers and the foundation.

Part of the problem, Hodgson says, stems from a world crowded in awareness campaigns; the idea of holding a run or walk for charity is more popular than ever, and the public’s attention is split into tiny pieces between them.

“That’s the unfortunate nature of charities and non-profits in general—there is a crowded marketplace,” Hodgson said. “That being said, I think [the Terry Fox Foundation] stands out in particular, because there is such transparency. I think a lot of people really appreciate knowing where their dollar goes. [I]t’s very very evident on every publication: we donate 84 cents of every dollar, and we really are able to maintain that.

“I think people are seeking out that consistency,” she concluded. “If they are going to volunteer, we’re the ones that they go to.”

Ultimately, Hodgson said the Foundation is in a transitional period: a new generation of  supporters are beginning to volunteer their time as Fox’s original supporters find themselves unable to dedicate the same time or energy to the cause.

“The new generation is coming up to take on the challenges,” she explained. “It’s interesting to see the new revival… people who are going to step up to the plate.”

And next week, the Foundation will reveal the individual taking up the reins of the Chilliwack Terry Fox Run and leading the forefront of that revival.

The Foundation is still looking for community members to fill spots as committee members and day-of volunteers—planning the route, reaching out to sponsors, and supporting the coordinator.

• For more information, visit www.terryfox.org or email provincial director Donna White at bcyukon@terryfoxrun.org.

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