KABUL, Afghanistan – As the sun beams down through the early morning skies soldiers and civilians from the Kabul area line up at the start line, ready to kick off their 5km and 10km Terry Fox Run.
Terry Fox has become a symbol of courage, determination and hope for not only Canadians but for many nations around the world, this year Canadians with the support of coalition forces soldier continue his legacy in Afghanistan.
“Terry Fox is deeply embedded into Canada’s history,” said Canadian Army Sgt Maj. Timothy Ramsay, a sponsor for ISAF’s Terry Fox Run event and native of Halifax, Nova Scotia. “Fox’s own personal struggles with cancer and his commitment to find a cure against all odds demonstrated the professionalism that we require for our soldiers: dedication, perseverance, service before self and fighting for what you believe in.”
More than 400 soldiers & civilians from nations around the world lead the way in their fight against cancer during the 31st anniversary of the Terry Fox Run Marathon of Hope at the International Security Assistance Forces Headquarters, Kabul, Sept. 16.
“It took a month of planning to bring everything together,” said Ramsay. “Bringing two camps together [ISAF and Eggers] along with Embassy staff and ensuring that security was adequate for all participants proved to be bit of a challenge after the attack on the camp a few days ago.
“I am delighted and thankful for the turnout and would not have changed anything about it,” said Ramsay.
The Terry Fox Run reminds Canadians around the world that there is something that each individual can do in support of cancer research, said Canadian Army Maj. Gen. Michael Day, Senior Canadian Military representative in Afghanistan.
“The Terry Fox Run is known all throughout Canada,” said Canadian Air Force Maj. Jodi-Jane Longley, a native of Nova Scotia. “I first participated in a Terry Fox Run when I was in high school. My cross country running coach would enter us into the run during National School Day Run. I have been participating ever since.”
For some participants in the Terry Fox Run, it goes deeper than just the run.
“I’m running for my young nephew, Ian Hassevort, of Chattanooga, Tenn.,” said U.S. Navy Commander Clint Beck, Executive Assistant to Deputy, Deputy Chief of Staff Stability, and native of Easton, Ma.
“He is five years old and is suffering from Optic Glioma, a tumor behind his left eye [he has lost vision in that eye], said Beck. “He is currently undergoing chemo to try to shrink the tumor as surgery really isn't an option. He has been under treatment since April of 2011.”
Australian Commander Michael Maley is currently serving as part of the Counter - Improvised Explosive Device (C-IED) team here and he runs for his wife Dianne who is a cancer survivor.
“In 2001 my wife was diagnosed with breast cancer,” said Maley. The cancer was malignant, a satellite tumor had developed in front of the main tumor; subsequently the main tumor [5cm] had been unable to make a path to the lymph system and she had a successful operation.”
What followed was six months of necessary hell involving radio therapy and then chemo, Maley added. This involved an amazing amount of strength on the part of his wife.
“We are now 10 years cancer free,” he concluded.
Cancer has affected the lives of so many, said Day. I'm proud of all those coalition team members who came together to help their Canadian sisters and brothers in supporting the Terry Fox run. Everyone’s collective efforts and generosity will assist in the ongoing important research to find a cure. I hope everyone enjoyed their run and I thank you all for your participation.
This marked the 9th Annual Terry Fox Run Marathon of Hope held in Afghanistan.
Canadians raised approximately $10,000 for cancer research; donations were collected by ISAF HQ, Eggers and KAIA through on line donations, T-shirt sales, Canadian barbeques and generous donations throughout various locations in Kabul.
“Any chance I get I participate in raising funds for this horrible disease,” said Maley.
About Terry Fox
Terry Fox was a young Canadian whose battle with bone cancer prompted him to run across his country, despite already having had one leg amputated. Diagnosed with osteogenetic sarcoma in 1977, he had his right leg amputated just above the knee and was fitted with a prosthetic device.
To draw attention to the disease and to raise funds for research, Fox announced he would run a marathon per day (more than 26 miles or 42 km) across Canada, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean. He began his voyage on April 12, 1980 in St. John's, Newfoundland and ran until he was almost to Thunder Bay, Ontario. (According to the Terry Fox Foundation, he traversed 3,339 miles in 143 days.) Fox was forced to abort his trip September 1, 1980, when he learned cancer had spread to his lungs. He died less than a year later, a month shy of his 23rd birthday. His strength in the face of adversity made Fox a national hero, and since his death the more than 750 Terry Fox Runs have been held across Canada and around the world. To date, more than $550 million has been raised around the world through the Terry Fox Run for cancer research and treatment.
For more information about Terry Fox Run visit http://www.terryfox.org/ .
This work, Fox’s dream lives on in Afghanistan, by SSG Tamika Dillard, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.