On Sunday morning, Joy Aboussafy and her husband Mo will put on their Terry Fox Run T-shirts and join hundreds of other runners and walkers in Riverside Park.
This is a ritual the Aboussafys have undertaken almost every year since the Terry Fox Foundation launched the first run in 1981. In fact, the couple have only sat out one in the event’s 33-year history when Mo was in hospital in Ottawa.
Otherwise, it never mattered where the Aboussafys lived or if they were on vacation, they ran in Terry Fox’s memory.
“We did (the run) on a cruise ship one year to Alaska. I purposefully took our T-shirts. It was amazing the number of people who committed to making a donation,” she said.
Aboussafy still has the T-shirts she, Mo and their children wore when they took part in the first Terry Fox Run in Port Coquitlam in 1981.
She broke out those T-shirts on Tuesday to show to Mo, who now suffers from a heart condition and vascular dementia. He recognized the shirts and is determined to join her again this year.
“He certainly recognized them (the shirts) this morning,” she said.
Like most people, Aboussafy’s life has been touched by cancer. In her case, it’s been professionally as a nurse and personally as her parents died from cancer.
Aboussafy was impressed by Terry Fox’s honesty and spirit during his cross-Canada run and admires his parents’ determination to keep his legacy going.
“They are so dedicated to carrying on his dream that some day we will have a cure for cancer,” said Aboussafy.
A large percentage of the money raised goes to cancer research, which is also important to Aboussafy. She said there’s been considerable advancements in cancer treatment and the survival rate is improving.
The couple collect pledges every year, but Aboussafy has no idea how much she’s gathered over 32 years.
“I wouldn’t even want to guess,” she said.
Aboussafy hopes she’ll see a big turnout on Sunday in front of the Rotary Bandshell. Registration is at 9 and the run starts at 10 a.m.
Organizer April Buder said there are 3.5-kilometre, 7-km and 10.5-km routes. Bikes, wheelchairs and strollers are allowed.