Age didn't seem to be much of a factor as the Terry Fox Run got under way in Al Ain yesterday. Image Credit: AFTAB KAZMI/Gulf News

Al Ain: Residents of the Oasis City yesterday pledged their support for global anti-cancer efforts by participating in the International Terry Fox Run.

Known as the Marathon of Hope, the event is organised worldwide in the spirit of Terry Fox's heroic 1980 run across Canada to raise funds for research into the deadly disease he was afflicted with.

Fox, arguably the most famous Canadian of the 20th century, died in June 1981. His efforts inspired other people take up his cause and today Terry Fox Runs are held at over 40 places around the world. Collectively, the events make for the world's largest one-day fundraiser for cancer research.

The run started at 10am from the Rugby Club of the Palm Sports Resort located near Tawam Hospital.

The participants, all of whom were presented official Terry Fox Foundation participation certificates, made the 5.1-kilometre loop around the resort.

Family event

Water stations had been put up by the organisers along the entire route of the run but with the emphasis being on a family-orientated and fun-filled event for all members of the community, several participants also turned up on bikes, skateboards, and rollerblades.

Teenagers showed the most interest in the run and, despite the warm temperature, tried to make it an enjoyable outing. At the finishing point, volunteers held out water for the runners amid shouts of appreciation.

Dan Tonner, organiser of the event, said it had received an encouraging response with people donating generously.

Terry Fox Runs are also held regularly in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. The first marathon of hope was organised in 1995 in Abu Dhabi.

All the money raised in Terry Fox Runs from the different emirates goes to cancer research at UAE University and Tawam Hospital, Tonner said.

"Over the last several years, the Terry Fox Run has become popular, particularly among youths all over the world who express solidarity with cancer sufferers," he said.

Daniella Pettinato, a participant, said: "It was really great to participate in such an event organised to serve humanity."

Daniella, who is from Canada, said it was her first participation in the event outside her country. "It's a humanitarian duty to support such events and enjoy spiritual satisfaction in return," she added.

David Peterson, another participant, said all of her family members took part in the run as they consider it a major philanthropic act.

"It was just like a fun day but with the important objective of serving humanity," he said.

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