A tribute to a long-time Maple Ridge Mountie and community volunteer translated to a boost in attendance and dollars at this year’s Terry Fox Run.
Upwards of 40 family members and friends of the late Fred Elder came together at Sunday’s Terry Fox Run in Hammond as a way to pay their respects to the long-time run volunteer and organizer who died Aug. 25 after a long battle with cancer.
Maple Ridge Mayor Ernie Daykin commented on the loss of Elder during his opening ceremonies speech, as did Terry Fox’s brother Fred Fox who befriended Elder some 10 years ago at the run.
“He was instantly likeable,” Fox said, noting they began a ritual after each Terry Fox Run of sharing a couple beer at the Maple Ridge Hotel and in later years at the legion.
“Our hearts were hurt when we learned three weeks ago that Fred had passed away. Fred will be missed by so many in this community,” Fox shared with the crowd. “I consider Fred a friend, although we probably only chatted one day a year on Terry Fox Run Day. And, Fred, today we’re all together again.”
In addition to all the family and friends in attendance at the Maple Ridge run, several of Elder’s family – including his brother Wade and sister Kim Poulter – held their own tribute in the U.S. on Sunday. They’d travelled down to Woodburn, Ore. for a car race, and broke away to hold their own Terry Fox Run in honour of Elder.
Team Elder not only boosted participation numbers at the local run, but also significantly contributed on the fundraising end, bringing in more than $10,000 of the run’s overall $34,000. More donations are still coming in.
A private memorial service was held for Elder just days before Sunday’s run, restricted to only his family and closest friends. Everyone else who wanted to pay their respects were asked to attend the Terry Fox Run, which Elder volunteered for and helped coordinate during the past decade.
“He was a wonderful man and a great friend to me. I feel so lucky to be a part of his amazing family. He will be dearly missed but always remembered for his kind and giving spirit,” said Krista Elder, his niece-in-law who was at Sunday’s run and who compiled a video about Fred that was shared with family at Thursday’s outdoor memorial service held near Maple Ridge Park (on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PDs35jsuyeY=em).
“Fred would have loved all of this,” said Kathy Marshall, one of his best friends, referring both to the service and the run.
“I think we were all feeling Fred was there with us, he was there in spirit… he was walking with us and smiling down. He’d be really happy to know the legacy he left.”