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More than 200 people take part in Norfolk’s Terry Fox Run

By Michelle Ruby, Brantford Expositor

Cancer survivor Lisa Dedrick (left) of Simcoe spoke during the opening ceremony on Sunday of the Norfolk Terry Fox Run. With her is Jenn Kaczynski, chair and volunteer co-ordinator of the event. MICHELLE RUBY/Postmedia News

Cancer survivor Lisa Dedrick (left) of Simcoe spoke during the opening ceremony on Sunday of the Norfolk Terry Fox Run. With her is Jenn Kaczynski, chair and volunteer co-ordinator of the event. MICHELLE RUBY/Postmedia News

SIMCOE - 

Decked out in bright yellow T-shirts, a team of more than 20 runners and walkers in the Norfolk Terry Fox Run delivered a blunt message to a cruel disease that has struck their family.

The FU Cancer team is made up of supporters of Delhi’s Trevor Dawdy and his grandfather Ken Dawdy who are both cancer survivors.

“Let’s say it stands for ‘family united,’” joked Mary Zylstra before the start of the fundraiser on Sunday, which had more than 200 participants.

The event, one of more than an estimated 9,000 fundraising Terry Fox Runs held in communities across the country on Sunday, had runners and walkers taking one- and five-kilometre routes from Lions Park in Simcoe through the Norfolk trails.

“We just changed locations last year,” said Jenn Kaczynski, chair and volunteer co-ordinator of the Norfolk Terry Fox Run committee. “Running on the trail makes it a lot safer and we don’t need police escorts.”

Kaczynski said volunteers worked hard to make the event family-friendly. There was a doggie station where furry participants could partake in biscuits and cool water and owners could pick up ribbons to attach to their pets’ collars.

There was also a kid’s station with face painting and colouring, and participants were encouraged to sign a giant poster picturing Terry Fox during his iconic Marathon of Hope.

“I feel like I grew up with Terry,” said Kaczynski. “I love what he did.”

Run organizers and participants are also attracted to the single goal of the runs: to fund innovative cancer research, with low overhead. Eighty-two cents of every dollar raised goes directly to cancer research. The Terry Fox Foundation operates independently, without a direct corporate sponsor.

The FU Cancer team has been participating in the Norfolk run for three years, after Trevor Dawdy was diagnosed with soft-tissue sarcoma on his leg when he was just 24.

“I was diagnosed in 2014,” Dawdy said on Sunday. “I went through 25 rounds of radiation and surgery.”

Dawdy still gets regular check-ups but said the chances of the disease returning are low.

“It’s not something I worry about in my day-to-day life.”

Lisa Dedrick of Simcoe shared the story of her battle with cancer for the first time just before Sunday’s run.

The 47-year-old was diagnosed with breast cancer that had spread into the lymph nodes after discovering a dimple in her left breast. She has undergone chemotherapy and radiation treatments.

“On July 8, everything changed,” she told the crowd. “That ‘C’ word was now affecting me and my family.

“Cancer has changed me but cancer doesn’t define me.”

Dedrick said she is a survivor, in large part, because of the fundraising done for cancer research.

Fox, who lost a leg to cancer, began his Marathon of Hope from Newfoundland and Labrador 37 years ago with a plan to run across the country. He was forced to end his journey in Thunder Bay when his cancer returned.

The Terry Fox Foundation has raised more than $800 million to date.

The Norfolk Terry Fox Run has raised about $230,000 since 2003. Kaczynski was hoping Sunday’s event would surpass last year’s fundraising total of $14,000.

— Brantford Expositor

mruby@postmedia.com