FILE Terry Fox Run-1643805280103
File photo of a previous edition of the run in Dubai Image Credit: Gulf News archive

Dubai: Popular cancer research event ‘Terry Fox Run’ returns to Dubai on February 5 to mark World Cancer Day (February 4) and bring to a close Expo 2020 Dubai’s Health and Wellness Week.

The charity family fun run will weave its way through various world pavilions at Expo. Organisers said the event will put a “spotlight on the need for collective action against one of medicine’s toughest challenges”.

Global recognition
Terry Fox Run is recognised around the world for its continued contribution to cancer research for more than four decades. It takes its name from a young Canadian university student who lost a leg to cancer. Wanting to give hope to cancer patients, the amputee athlete ran 5,373km – close to a marathon every day for 143 days – to raise funds for cancer research. When he had to stop running due to the return of cancer, millions of people around the world decided to continue his quest by taking part in The Terry Fox Run. Now an annual event in 33 countries across five continents, the Terry Fox Run has evolved into the largest fundraising event in support of cancer research in the world.
The Terry Fox Run returns to Dubai-1643805282345
Terry Fox Image Credit: Canadian Press

The very first Terry Fox Run in Dubai happened in 1994, under the patronage of Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President, Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and Group, Chairman of the Expo 2020 Dubai Higher Committee, and Chairperson of Al Jalila Foundation.

Open to all ages and abilities

Organised by Canadian Business Council Dubai and hosted by Expo to support Al Jalila Foundation, this year’s Terry Fox Run in Dubai continues its tradition as a 3km or 5km non-competitive family fun run.

The event is open to all ages and abilities, and participants can choose to either run or walk the course; strollers are also welcome. In support of World Cancer Day, participants are encouraged to wear blue and orange too.

This year’s World Cancer Day, an annual initiative of the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), aims to raise awareness of the need to close the care gap.

Collective action

Reem Al Hashimy, Minister of State for International Cooperation and Managing Director of Expo 2020 Dubai, said: “The Terry Fox Run at Expo 2020 Dubai is held in support of World Cancer Day and aims to inspire collective action against what remains a leading cause of death worldwide. While cancer does not discriminate, treating it remains a challenging and difficult journey for so many. The UAE remains committed to advancing medical research and innovation to improve quality of life for all and we are grateful to the Terry Fox Foundation for contributing to this important research.”

Since the first Dubai Terry Fox Run in 1994, the foundation has raised more than Dh8 million for cancer research projects in the UAE. This year’s run at Expo 2020 Dubai aims to see even more pre-approved research projects get funded in partnership with Al Jalila Foundation.

Gaining momentum

Ara Sahakian, former executive director and volunteer consultant to the Terry Fox Foundation, said: “Cancer research in the UAE really gained momentum because of the Terry Fox Run and the longstanding support of Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, to whom we remain eternally grateful.”

Sahakian added: “Cancer research is crucially important – it not only saves lives but gives hope to patients and those whose lives are affected by this disease. Through cancer research, we can also help to address some of the inequities in patient care. Participants in the Terry Fox Run and any other donors wanting to support the cause are warmly welcomed for their contribution, which can be made on the registration page for the event.”

Dr Abdulkareem Sultan Al Olama, CEO of Al Jalila Foundation, said: “Terry Fox is a symbol of hope for cancer patients; he started a global movement for cancer research and it is inspiring to see the annual run (and its cause) continue to grow every year around the world. Cancer continues to cut so many lives short and it is only through our investments in research that we can fight this devastating disease and improve patients’ quality of life.”

“We’re all looking forward to this Saturday’s event and I hope everyone will participate, proudly wearing blue or orange, as we all come together for World Cancer Day and show our collective support for cancer research here in the UAE,” added Colin Beaton, Chairman of Canadian Business Council Dubai.

How to join?

Terry Fox Run will start and end at Jubilee Park, just beside the Canada Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai. Registration for the event is Dh100 per person, and free for children up to 17 years old. All participants will receive three Expo 2020 entry tickets allowing full access to the Expo site. All net proceeds from registration will be donated to Al Jalila Foundation to support cancer research projects in the UAE in partnership with the Terry Fox Foundation.

There are two ways to participate in the Dubai Terry Fox Run: in person at Expo 2020 Dubai or virtually through its website.