Abu Dhabi: Dressed for cooler weather and with a spirit of enthusiasm, thousands of residents gathered at the Abu Dhabi Corniche on Friday morning for the 21st edition of the Terry Fox Run in the capital.
Looking to have a good time, the participants were also keen on furthering cancer research — a spirit that has punctuated Terry Fox runs across the world.
“The Terry Fox Run in Abu Dhabi is a fun family event. Yet, it is a day on which you can honour someone you know who has been diagnosed with cancer. The Terry Fox Run gives you the opportunity to make a difference in the life of someone else,” Fred Fox, brother of amputee and cancer patient Terry Fox who initially began the noble tradition in Canada in 1980.
The runs first began when Terry Fox, a 22-year-old Canadian whose leg had to be amputated due to osteosarcoma (bone cancer), embarked on the Marathon of Hope in 1980. Fox’s goal for his cross-Canada run was to raise funds for cancer research and awareness. After 143 days of running, he was forced to abandon the initiative due to the spread of cancer, and he eventually died of the disease a few months later.
Since then, however, subsequent non-competitive runs across the world have raised millions of dollars worldwide. In the UAE alone, it has raised Dh22 million to support cancer research, including Dh7 million in Abu Dhabi, Fox told Gulf News. In fact, the 20th edition of the run in the capital, organised in 2015, saw more than 20,000 participants.
“The money raised is used for cancer research taking place at the UAE University. For 2018, more than Dh3 million has been made available for these projects,” he added.
The 8.5-kilometre run began at the east plaza of the Corniche, and participants headed to the Mina Zayed Port.
“Terry would be so proud to know that almost 38 years after he was running his Marathon of Hope that people from around the world come together at a beautiful location like Abu Dhabi to continue what he started,” Fox said.