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Passing the torch: Squamish Terry Fox Run needs volunteers

Previous organizers step down; community needs new leaders.
Terry fox Brian StablykSquamish Run(1)
Memorial statue of Terry Fox who attempted to run across Canada to raise money for cancer research. Photo by Brian Stablyk/Getty Images

A dedicated group has done their turn; now they are hoping others in Squamish will step up to take this event over the finish line. 

The annual Squamish Terry Fox Run has been a staple held for decades in many communities worldwide, including in Squamish, to raise money for cancer research in commemoration of its namesake.

However, this year, on the second Sunday after Labour Day, there was no formal Terry Fox Run in the district on Sept. 17. 

The small group of individuals who organized the popular Squamish Terry Fox Run for the past five years stepped down at the beginning of the year and had hoped other locals would step up to take their places, but that didn't happen.

“Our small group of serial volunteers, collectively and individually, didn’t have the bandwidth or availability to take on the 2023 event,” said Katherine Folinsbee in an email to The Squamish Chief.

"We stepped down in January 2023 and passed the event back to the Terry Fox Foundation, with whom we have actively been looking for an organization locally to take over planning and executing the annual Squamish community Terry Fox Run," she added.

"Unfortunately, no one stepped up to the plate for the event this past weekend, and the search is still on for a local group with a volunteer base who can maintain and develop this event year-to-year through their volunteers." 

Folinsbee added that the small group of organizers was only able to pull off the previous events through the support of a "fabulous group of organizers' friends and family each year" who helped fundraise, run social media and set up and execute the event day and more each September. 

“We loved the opportunity to reinvigorate the event and the fundraising for the important work and community experience the Terry Fox Run provides to Squamish,” Folinsbee continued.

“We were lucky to take over such a well-loved initiative from the great volunteer organizations who have run it in the past — most recently before us was the [Squamish Firefighters’ Association] and their families, who did an exemplary job for years and made the handover to us seamless.”

The Terry Fox Foundation is poised to lead anyone through the process of taking it on. (Contact [email protected] if interested.)

Ideally, the event needs an organization with a volunteer base already in place to take over and ensure the event's longevity in Squamish, Folinsbee stressed.

Squamish's Amber Pascual and Judy Pace were the driving forces behind the organizing group for the past years, and Pascual is also happy to be contacted to pass on the group's knowledge and information to anyone interested in taking the event over, Folinsbee said. If folks just want to know more, they can reach out as well. Pascual can be reached at [email protected].

“As individuals, we have all been touched by cancer amongst our closest families and friends and have also grown up with the legacy and inspiration Terry Fox left for all of us.  We all remain avid supporters and participants of the Terry Fox Run in whichever community we find ourselves each year,” Folinsbee said.

Some things to know

If you are considering stepping up, Folinsbee said these are some things to know: 

  • The event has a fully supported plan and resource process through the Terry Fox Foundation, including an active organizing group with resources and contacts all over Canada for ideas and support on how to run any local event and to raise funds.
  • Locally, there are Squamish Terry Fox-run social channels, event venue and supply contacts and more ready to be handed over to anyone willing to take this on.
  • There is no required number of years running the event, fundraising or event scope commitment beyond your own imagination and ability to pull off.  
  • Having a larger group of volunteers available both in the planning and in the event execution leading up to and on the day would be of huge benefit to make this event an even bigger success for many years to come.
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