For Veronica Adams this year’s Terry Fox Run in Williams Lake was of special significance.
The 24-year-old Canoe Creek resident beat osteogenic sarcoma (bone cancer) — the same type of cancer Fox was affected by — last fall.
Adams was diagnosed in April 2017 and started treatment in May.
“I had three rounds of chemotherapy before I had my surgery on Aug. 9, 2017,” she said before the Terry Fox run began on Sunday morning outside the Seniors Activity Centre. “In September I continued my treatments and it wasn’t until November when I finished. I’ve been cancer-free since.”
Adams, along with her mother, Nadine Adams, her nephew, Leon, and niece, Lola, were among about 50 people of all ages who participated in this year’s run or walk.
It was Adams’ sixth Terry Fox Run and second in a row.
“I did one last year while I was still going through treatments. My mother and father pushed me on the trails that they were going on and that’s how I went because I couldn’t walk at the time,” she said.
Nadine said she is “very” thankful her daughter is still with her.
“I’m so thankful for Terry Fox and the foundation because it’s allowed my baby to be here,” she said.
First-time organizer Nichole Fraser said she was pleased with how the event turned out. Her own aunt succumbed to lung cancer a week and a half before the race, so the event hit home even more.
“It is a little tough to talk about,” she said after the runners and walkers left. “We didn’t think it would happen this soon and it kind of hit us by surprise, but it makes this so much more meaningful because it can happen to anyone. Literally everybody has known someone with cancer or has beaten cancer.”
“Everybody seems happy,” Fraser said of the turnout. “We’ve raised quite a bit of money. I’ve seen quite a bit of pledges coming in, and quite a bit of online pledges, too.
“I think it’s [the turnout] about the same as last year. We always want to see more, but even if just one person showed up making awareness and keeping Terry’s dream alive would be sufficient enough.”
Grateful to everyone who helped put on the run this year, Fraser said she could not have done it without them.
“Everyone banded together, especially at the last minute, but it really made a difference.”
Fraser said she was not sure if she would take it on again next year.
Don Olesiuk, longtime participant, has never missed a single Terry Fox Run.
“It’s a real family thing,” he said.
Olesiuk has run in Prince George, Fort Fraser, Kamloops and did his first run in Quick, near Smithers.
“My mother-in-law passed away of cancer,” he said. “You’re working with the children, and seeing them stay healthy and bringing awareness to let people know cancer affects everyone.”
Sandra Middleton has also never missed a year of the Terry Fox Run and was wearing a T-shirt from the 1992 event in Williams Lake.
“I think it was 1981 when I started,” she said. “So 37 years for me.”
Middleton was walking with Dave Balabuk and their dog, Chica. She said they’d been training together for the run.
Williams Lake Mayor Walt Cobb thanked Fraser for taking on the organization of the run.
“She took the torch and carried it for us and got it going for us this year,” Cobb said. “It’s a very worthwhile cause, and it’s good to see a good turnout.”