CFB Esquimalt member creates multinational NATO team for the Terry Fox Run in London, U.K.

CFB Esquimalt member creates multinational NATO team for the Terry Fox Run in London, U.K.

A CFB Esquimalt member stationed in the United Kingdom is sharing Canadian icon Terry Fox’s story to multiple countries by creating a multinational NATO team to participate in the Terry Fox Run in London, England.

Chief Petty Officer 2nd Class Brian Whitman always participated in Terry Fox Runs growing up in Canada and started creating fundraising teams after losing his mother to cancer, as well as his brother to Osteosarcoma, the same cancer that killed Terry Fox.

Two years ago he was stationed in Northwood HQ in the U.K.

When he arrived, Whitman reached out to the head of the Terry Fox Foundation to organize a virtual run for Canadian military member stationed out there.

“Luckily, [the foundation] was able to say I have news for you, you guys actually have one out there,” Whitman explained.

The Terry Fox Run in London is organized by Canada House in London, as well as Neil Johnson, a Canadian businessman living in England.

All the money raised at this event goes towards the work being done at the U.K.-based Institute of Cancer Research.

Last year, Whitman organized a team of the Canadian military delegation, but this year he wanted more people to join.

Whitman opened the invitation to the entire community he is working with on the base, gaining the interest of many international members.

“I’ve got a 50 person team this year with people not just from Canada and the U.K., but also Italy, Spain, and a lot of the NATO nations joined,” he said.

He explained a number of the members were very interested in Terry’s story and all the work Canadians do to keep his legacy alive, with some of Whitman’s teammates telling him they plan to take the information back to their home countries.

“I think [the Terry Fox Run] is something we should be doing in every country,” Whitman said. “Not just to get Terry’s legacy out there, but to raise awareness everywhere of the kind of things we can do with cancer research.”

Ralph Goodale, High Commissioner for Canada in the United Kingdom, told CHEK News it’s great to see other countries learning about Terry Fox,

Goodale said he has had the honour of participating in the last few runs in London and when he shared the story of Terry, that every Canadian learns at young age, people in the UK were in awe.

“In fact, some people think you’re making it up, that this couldn’t possibly be a true story,” Goodale laughed.

London’s 2022 event had about 200 participants, and Whitman said he expects to see even more people out this year.

He added his team has raised about 2,100 pounds this year, which is about $3,517 Canadian.

The run in London takes place on Sunday, same as the Canadian events.

“There’s also a second run at Toll Gate Park in Glasgow, Scotland, also on Sunday and then there is a third run at the Four Seasons Hotel in Hampshire that will be on Sept. 24,” Goodale added.

Victoria Terry Fox Run

The final preparations are underway for the Terry Fox Run in Victoria on Sunday.

Participants will run five kilometres from Mile Zero, in Beacon Hill Park, down Dallas Road to St. Charles Street and back.

Darren Wark, event organizer, said about 1,000 people are expected to participate this year.

“Everyone has a story, we all know somebody with cancer and we are all in the same fight together,” Wark said.

Bill Vigars, who ran with Terry Fox along the Marathon of Hope, will also be there share his experiences with Terry.

Registration for the run opens at 9 a.m. with opening ceremonies getting underway at 9:45 a.m.

Residents can sign up for the run in person or online.

PREVIOUS STORY: Terry Fox’s cousin says he’d be thrilled to see his impact on cancer research

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