By Woodard, Dale on September 22, 2020.
Forty years ago, Arlene Mantie had plans to meet Terry Fox face-to-face.
Unfortunately, that never happened, but on the 40th anniversary of the Marathon of Hope, Mantie has perfect attendance in the Terry Fox Run honouring the man who embarked on a cross-country run in 1980 on a prosthetic leg to raise money for cancer awareness and research.
But 40 years ago Mantie set the goal to meet Fox on his Marathon of Hope, an encounter that never occurred when Fox’s cancer spread before he could get out west and forced him to end his run after 143 days. He passed away in June 1981.
“Back in 1980 when I heard about this young man deciding to run across Canada it was an amazing thing to think about then, let alone with a prosthetic leg,” said Mantie. “Then I realized he was my age. Terry and I were only two weeks apart. I watched everything I could. There wasn’t much media and stuff back then, but my plan back then was to meet him at the Alberta/Saskatchewan border and cheer him on. But we all know that wasn’t meant to be.”
When the Terry Fox Run started in 1981, Mantie partook and hasn’t missed one since.
“When they started the runs I thought I would do my part to carry on his legacy and that’s what I’ve done since,” she said.
On Sunday Mantie and her dog, Pixel, put on a lap at the Civic Centre Track before heading over to Henderson Lake.
“Terry Fox means hope to cure cancer,” said Mantie, who carried a flag stating “Terry Fox lives here” as she walked the track. “He means a lot to a lot of people. He is courage. He is selfless. He has taught everybody that one person can make a difference.”
The 40th anniversary of the run will go down as a unique one with the COVID-19 pandemic shutting down normal in-person participation of past years. In keeping with pandemic rules of social distancing and avoiding crowds, runners instead shot video of themselves doing their activity of choice, which was streamed on the Lethbridge Terry Fox Run Facebook page.
“This is so different, we’ve never experienced anything like this,” said Mantie. “You miss the regular Terry Fox (runners). We miss seeing Uncle Terry Fox here. But we still have to carry on for Terry and his cause, his legacy and what he meant to us. We’re still fighting that dreaded disease and still losing people, but we have made so many gains in the research and treatments that have come about because of the Terry Fox Foundation, the research they’ve done and the funds that have been raised to support it.”
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