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No organizer for Chilliwack Terry Fox Run

Chilliwack's Terry Fox Run is in jeopardy of being cancelled if an organizer doesn't soon step forward.

After several years leading the annual event, former organizer Margaret Kostrzewa stepped down for personal reasons. The foundation isn't yet fearing cancellation, but the clock is ticking.

With three months to go before the run on Sept. 14, Donna White, Terry Fox Foundation provincial director, said an organizer should have been secured at latest last week.

The lead up to the event requires intense planning and organization, she said.

Run organizer is a volunteer position with a responsibility of recruiting committee members, confirming the run route, promoting the run, and overseeing run day activities. The time commitment ranges from two to four hours weekly during the months leading up to the event.

"It's a big task to take on," said White.

"It's somebody who has a bit of time to give, who is well organized, and is able to take a lead and recruit people coming in to help out."

White said Chilliwack's run is no more important than any other Terry Fox Run organized around the world, despite the fact several members of the Fox family reside in Chilliwack, including father Rolly Fox.

The loss would likely be felt.

"Before Terry Fox, there wasn't a run for this, a ride for that, or a walk for something, there was just this one young man out there trying to make a difference," said White.

"I think that resonates with Canadians. He was real. He was tangible. He ran into the hearts of this country during the summer of 1980.

"He's our hero."

Last year the foundation was forced to cancel the Terry Fox Run in Abbotsford due to a lack of volunteers. It was the first time an established Terry Fox Run had been cancelled.

The public outcry was sharp.

"It was unfortunate because we had a few people interested, but nobody wanted to take on the leadership role," said White, who had an influx of people saying they'd do it after the fact. "We weren't able to find somebody in time, and unfortunately we had to make the decision to cancel the event.

"It would be such a shame for the people of Chilliwack to miss out on an opportunity to keep Terry's legacy alive."

The Terry Fox Run has been running in Chilliwack since 1986. To date, the foundation has raised $650 million for cancer worldwide.

This year marks the 34th annual Terry Fox Run.

For more information, contact Donna White at 1-888-836-9786.

kbartel@theprogress.com

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