Canadians first began hearing the name Terry Fox when he began his journey on the East Coast. Now his legacy branches out to include research in the region – where it happens that cancer rates are among the highest in the country.
People throughout Canada and in other parts of the world retain their enthusiasm for the journey this young man undertook, 30 years ago on April 12. His dream that a run across the country might raise $1 from every Canadian has of course wildly exceeded those expectations. Annual runs mounted since his passing have raised about $500 million to help find the causes and a cure for the disease.
The Terry Fox Research Institute’s Atlantic Node saw its official launch yesterday in St. John’s N.L., where Fox started his Marathon of Hope all those years ago.
Family and friends visited the spot where he started the run to thank people for keeping the dream alive and to announce the research project. The goal is to unite cancer-care experts in Atlantic Canada with those across the country and to boost underfunded attempts to move new treatments from the lab to clinics. The aim is also to cut regional death rates that are among the country’s highest.
Nova Scotians have often heard health professionals comment that rates of the disease are high in this province. Along with New Brunswick, the two provinces experience the highest rates of lung cancer among women. The mortality rates are also higher in the region.
Newfoundland and Labrador is reported to have the highest per capita counts of colorectal cancer.
Other research projects in the past have been launched to put a demographic element into our understanding of the disease. The lifestyles, the genes and the environment will provide clues to help identify causes.
It’s alarming to have these higher numbers so close to home. But it’s also reassuring to see continuation of a drive that started with one young man’s dream.