Skip to content

Local cancer survivors celebrate life at Terry Fox Run (UPDATE: Final numbers are in)

'It's been a great day for cancer research here in the Sunshine City,' says organizer

UPDATE (8:00 p.m.)

The final run day numbers have been tallied.

"I am very proud to report that almost 500 people brought in just over $37,000 for cancer research today in Orillia," said event co-organizer Alison Stoneman. "That makes it our 10th consecutive year exceeding our goal of $1 per Orillia resident." 

ORIGINAL STORY (3:50 p.m.)

Gini Stringer wasn’t sure if she would make it through another year to be able to stand on the Terry Fox Stage this year.

But thanks to funds raised through events, such as the run, she was able to enter a clinical trial at Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre (RVH).

“As long as there’s money coming in for that trial, I can receive my drugs,” said the Orillia resident, who takes chemo medication every day and goes to RVH once a month for an injection.

“What’s amazing about it is that it’s given me a quality of life so I’m able to work and do something like this run,” said Stringer, who is co-owner of a local business.

And even though there are side effects from the chemo, she said, “I don’t want to complain about those — I’m just grateful for the treatment.”

To Stringer, that’s what’s important about raising awareness and bringing people out to raise funds for cancer research.

She and her husband, also a cancer survivor, have never missed a Terry Fox Run, said Stringer, who has been battling cancer for 20 years

But they have never lost hope because of research money raised through events such as the one held Sunday afternoon at Couchiching Beach Park.

“It’s a direct correlation between these dollars collected here today and somebody being able to live a better life,” said Alison Stoneman, co-organizer of the event.

One of the reasons Stoneman got involved 21 years ago was because she knew cancer research works, because it worked for her.

“Other than the fact that Terry Fox has been my hero since I was a child, I know cancer research works,” said Stoneman. “We can only get treatments from research and that comes from money.”

And cancer has affected everyone, she said.

That was definitely the case with many others participating in the run.

“We wanted to do something as a company,” said Corrina Barnes, a team member representing the local business Paradigm Precision. “Personally, it’s in memory of family members who have passed away due to cancer.”

She said she had probably lost 10 family members, two in the last year alone, to cancer.

And if you can’t make it out to the event, send in your money or donate your time as a volunteer, said Barnes.

Speaking to Stringer’s story, Barnes said she knows the importance of research, and volunteering to be a part of such trial, because her daughter works as a research for SickKids

“It’s for the future,” said Barnes. “Hopefully, others won’t suffer.”

The cause is popular among all ages.

A group of 13 Lakehead University sorority members had selected this event as their first fundraiser to support under the banner of the philanthropy club.

“It’s really near and dear to a lot of people,” said Codie Goodman, whose own grandmother died from cancer four months ago. “We have a number of sisters who are affected by cancer.”

The more awareness we raise, the more money we can raise for research and maybe even find a cure, she said.

Raising awareness by coming out to annual events also helps create support in the community for those diagnosed with cancer, said Brenda Marr.

“My grandfather was too scared to go to the doctor and when he did it was too late,” said the Orillia resident. “He died within six months.

“This helps get rid of that taboo that you’re sick,” Marr continued. “It helps people go out and have themselves checked.”

Stringer certainly has been grateful for all the support that has come through the Terry Fox Foundation.

“Life can change on a dime,” she said. “And I think it’s just wonderful to be able to live my life the way I’m living it.”

The total number of participants and money raised will be calculated later in the day, said Stoneman.

“Whatever the numbers are, it’s been a great day for cancer research here in the Sunshine City,” she said. “Our goal is $1 per Orillia resident, and we anticipate meeting that goal today.”

If that is the case, this will be the event’s 10th year meeting its goal, said Stoneman, adding it’s thanks not only to those who participate but also to the 100 or so volunteers who come out each year.

“Some years it’s been tough to get to the goal,” she said. “We know people work hard for every dollar, but we’re honoured they choose Terry Fox to donate.”