Western students' Terry Fox spirit 'inspirational'

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Western students turned out in full force to support cancer research last weekend as part of the annual Terry Fox Run.

“It’s about awareness for the Terry Fox Foundation and cancer research,” said Chris Reynolds, a run-day coordinator for Western’s section of the Marathon of Hope.

“This year [Western] was the largest postsecondary run in Canada,” Reynolds said, adding there was an estimated 1,100 participants on Sunday.

“We raised roughly $30,000, which is up about $10,000 from last year,” Reynolds said.

“I cannot really credit Western students enough,” Martha McClew, Ontario Director for the Terry Fox Foundation, said.

“[Western] is far and away our top university support system, even above Simon Fraser, which is Terry’s university,” she added.

According to McClew, Western ranked 15 out of all communities in Ontario, a category including major cities such as Toronto and Ottawa.

McClew said she is impressed with such high numbers from a university.

“It’s inspirational to see that kind of support from university students,” she said. “Students have a lot of obligations, especially early in the school year.

“The Western team that led this event did extraordinary work to motivate their fellow students.”

A key factor to the run’s success is its close ties to Western’s orientation program.

“It’s a huge part of our orientation program,” Rich Caccamo, Western’s orientation coordinator, said. He explained that unlike years past there was a commitment to making the run another orientation week event.

Caccamo was one of the more creative characters present for the run. He is one of the leaders of the ‘Dairy for Terry’ run.

Caccamo said ‘Dairy for Terry’ involves participating clad in speedos while drinking two litres of milk.

“We’re looking to inspire those who enjoy a brisk walk or sprint while enjoying milk,” Cacccamo said. “We don’t discriminate, one per cent, two per cent, chocolate is fine. Someone had cottage cheese, it’s a plethora of dairy.”

Caccamo discussed the mood of the event.

“I think people come out thinking it’s going to be a very solemn event. It’s very upbeat, people come out to celebrate life.”

According to McClew, funds raised through the Terry Fox Foundation are distributed exclusively for research use by the National Cancer Institute of Canada.

“Researchers at Robarts were part of a group that recently got a grant proposal worth $3.5 million approved,” McClew said.

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