Miller, Jackson to take over Wingham Terry Fox Run
BY DENNY SCOTT
Scott Miller and Steve Jackson, two local cancer survivors, will soon be heading up the Wingham Terry Fox Run, one of the most consistent and well-attended runs in the area.
Miller, likely best known for his work as a journalist with CTV News in the area, and Jackson, who works with the Maitland Valley Conservation Area, are taking over the event from Dale and Linda Edgar, who have been organizing the local run for 34 years. Both Miller and Jackson were diagnosed with testicular cancer in the last decade.
“We’re honoured to be taking on such a fantastic event,” Miller said. “And we hope to honour Terry’s memory.”
The local event, which has raised over $500,000 in the last 34 years, has a long history of bringing out hundreds of walkers, making it a great event, according to both the Edgars and Miller and Jackson, and the latter are very happy to carry on the tradition set out by the Edgars.
For their part, the Edgars said they were honoured to find people to take over who have the passion for Terry Fox and the Marathon of Hope that they have. Dale said they were “over the moon” when they first met with Miller and Jackson.
Just as Miller and Jackson have a very personal reason to be involved in the Terry Fox Foundation, the Edgars do as well. The two lost their daughter Allison in 1988 to cancer, specifically to a neuroblastoma. She was mere days old when she was diagnosed, the two said, and didn’t reach her second birthday.
Shortly after, they saw an article looking for organizers for the event and the two felt it was an important cause and they wanted to be involved.
The two say that, over the last 34 years, they have realized that efforts like the annual Terry Fox Run have made a huge difference, as the cancer that claimed their daughter is far less fatal than it used to be.
Miller and Jackson agreed, pointing out that testicular cancer had an extremely high fatality rate as recently as a decade ago, but now has a high survivability rate.
Miller said he’s happy to be a part of the event because Terry Fox is, by his accounting, the greatest Canadian ever.
“You can’t give more than he did,” he said. “Just to be in the same sentence as him feels pretty good.”
Dale said that the entire foundation, like Fox’s family, who are still involved, is great and he said he has fond memories of everyone he’s worked with over the years.
Linda agreed, saying that the foundation representatives they’ve worked with have always felt more like family than anything else, and that Miller and Jackson should look forward to having that same kind of relationship.
While the Edgars are handing over the reins of the event, they will still be around for it and involved, which Miller and Jackson both said they are glad to hear.
“We are going to draw on their 34 years of experience,” Miller said.
Linda said she is excited to see what kind of new ideas Miller and Jackson will put forward, especially after two years of virtual runs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She said that online connections aren’t something she or Dale were experienced with, so that has proven a challenge she thinks the new organizers will be able to handle.
Miller said they will try, but the success of the Wingham run has been built on word of mouth, making it one of the best in the area. He added that the desire to get back to “normal” by doing these kinds of events in person will also help to drive people back to the event through traditional channels.
Jackson said he and Miller will likely keep the event similar to the pre-pandemic iterations of it while they get some experience running it, with Miller saying it only makes sense since people have come to know the event. The Edgars said there are some people who have been running it since they started organizing it 34 years ago.
The first year they had 78 runners, the Edgars said, and it’s grown since then to the point that they have had over 200 runners at the start of the day. Over 34 years, the couple has seen the inclusion of teams, which opened up the possibility of businesses and families taking part.
They also have memories of people riding horses for the event, which welcomes walking, running and cycling traditionally, as well as Belgrave’s George Michie driving his home-made electric car for the event.
The couple also said the event has always been a family affair, from their inspiration to get involved with it to working alongside their daughters to prepare for the event for years now.
This year’s event is set for Sept. 18 and will start at 11 a.m. at the Wingham Lions Club pavilion off the Wingham Community Trail. For more information visit terryfox.ca.