x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Runners keep Terry Fox dream alive

The UAE has become one of the top supporters of the cause outside of Canada, and Dh7.8 million raised over the years has funded 35 cancer-related research projects at UAE University.

ABU DHABI // Five Terry Fox runs across the country that attracted 25,000 participants are expected to raise Dh1m for cancer research in the Emirates.

Runs in Al Ain, Dubai, Ras al Khaimah and the inaugural event in Fujairah brought in Dh489,000. A final tally is still being conducted for the Abu Dhabi event, which was the country's largest at 15,000 participants. Last year's event drew 12,000 people and raised Dh650,000.

Nafisa Taha, a founding member of the Abu Dhabi Terry Fox Run and chairwoman of this year's event, said an audited report of the money raised in Abu Dhabi would be out by the end of April.

"People from all walks of life came and we were bound by a common cause. It was inspiring to see a sea of blue," Ms Taha said, referring to the colour of the run's T-shirts. "We were there because we care and wanted to keep Terry Fox's dream alive."

People around the world have been inspired by the story of Fox, who lost a leg to bone cancer at 19. After recovering he attempted an 8,000km marathon across Canada on an artificial leg but the cancer returned and he died at 22, before he could finish.

The UAE has become one of the top supporters of the cause outside of Canada.

The Dubai Terry Fox Run, on February 25, drew 8,000 participants and raised Dh350,000.

"This year's run was a great success due to the overwhelming support we received from the Dubai community, its companies, schools, the Dubai Police and the Dubai Sports Council," said Dave Barette, the event's chairman. He said they were "extremely happy" about how the run had brought attention to the cancer research being conducted in the UAE.

Fujairah, which held its first Terry Fox run on February 26, had 400 participants.

"This year was about raising awareness about the whole charity on the east coast and I believe we achieved that," said Donna Wilson, an organiser of the Fujairah run. "People came. They rollerbladed, pushed baby prams. There were runners, walkers and people on bikes. We collected close to Dh35,000 and so for our first goal in Fujairah, I was very pleased."

About 100 people, including people with disabilities, took part in the Al Ain run on February 11. They raised more than Dh4,000.

"Those who participated had either experienced cancer or were affected by it at some point in their lives," said one of the organisers, Walter Cramerstetter.

The final race of the year, in Ras al Khaimah last Friday, drew about 1,200 participants and raised more than Dh100,000.

"The whole community was completely euphoric," said Jane Shaw, a member of the organising committee. "Everybody was saying we'll be there next year."

rruiz@thenational.ae

* With additional reporting by Anna Zacharias