Spirits were high, despite a few tears being shed at Sunday morning's Terry Fox Run in Maple Ridge.
About 650 people gathered under foggy skies for the 33rd annual fundraising run, and many of the guests at Hammond Stadium were there to walk or run in honour of friends, co-workers, or loved ones who are fighting or have fought their own battle with cancer.
Among those there on Sunday was cancer survivor Terry Becker, a Pitt Meadows resident speaking about former walk organizer Sandy Wakeling, who recently lost his battle with the disease.
"I consider it an honour and opportunity to recognize the tireless volunteers in our community and one that is no doubt organizing his own run today - Sandy Wakeling. We miss you," said Becker.
She was diagnosed with cancer and went through her own treatment about a year and a bit before Wakeling did.
"It's something that unless you've been told the dreaded words 'it's cancer,' you can't understand the bond that exists between survivors. It's unspoken. I've tried to explain it like we're part of a team - a special team," Becker said.
"You can't just join in, but when you become part of it, your world is opened to your amazing teammates," she said, explaining that they become part of the "wonderful, well-oiled machine" called B.C. Cancer Agency.
"I remember all too well every third Tuesday was chemo day and I'd show up along with my teammates and we'd get hooked up to our IVs and we'd share things with each other that our best friends wouldn't, because they couldn't understand," she said to the crowd who had gathered for the morning walk/run.
"I can still walk into a grocery store, bank, restaurant, and I know who's currently in treatment, who's just finished treatment, and often who is a survivor," Becker added. "All it takes is eye contact, and they know as well, we share a smile, a wink, or even a hug."
On Sunday, she was there not only to remember the journey of one individual who got this thing started - Terry Fox.
"But, we're here to remember the one individual from Pitt Meadows who continued Terry's dream here locally, Sandy Wakeling," she said Several dignitaries spoke at the run, and many talked about continuing the Marathon of Hope that Terry Fox began 33 years ago.
"Thirty-three years later that dream is still alive," said Maple Ridge Mayor Ernie Daykin, thanking parents for bringing the next generation out to the run to ensure its continuation.
Pitt Meadows Mayor Deb Walters said the run is meant to continue Terry Fox's marathon, "so that one day cancer will be a thing of the past."
@ Copyright 2013