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West Kelowna walking for Terry

Gerry and the Pacemakers’ 1963 recording of You’ll Never Walk Alone may be a fitting theme tune for the Westside Walkers.

The Westside Walkers is, at this point, a vision of Brian Perry’s.

Perry is in the process of gathering as many West Kelowna recreational walkers as possible to take part in this year’s 31st annual Terry Fox Run on Sept. 18.

“I’m trying to get this team together for anybody who wants to sign up,” said Perry.

Perry said that some participate in the event without a team. His intention is to provide West Kelowna residents with the option of joining, and helping to raise money with a bigger group.

The concept was spawned when he realized how many residents stroll in West Kelowna on a daily basis.

“There are hundreds of people who walk (near the) lakeshore along Whitworth Road. I go at 7:30 or 8 a.m. and there are maybe 15 or 20 people that I run into on a regular basis.”

Perry has already convinced some of those walkers to join the crew. He said that he is trying to get West Kelowna residents to change their walking route on Sept. 18.

“I’ve been basically saying to people, ‘How about, instead of walking on the Westside, come down to Mission Sportsfields and raise some money for cancer?’”

Although the Westside Walkers is still in the idea phase, Perry isn’t opposed to the idea of it becoming something more after the Terry Fox Run is finished.

So far, reaction to Perry’s plan has been positive.

“The response has been great. There are about eight women that are in their early 70s and they seem to be really enthusiastic.”

Perry participated in his first Terry Fox Run last year and this year he is on the organizing committee. His motivation is similar to many others who get involved: He knows people who have been affected by cancer.

“I’ve lost a neighbour, I was at a funeral a couple of weeks ago for Yvonne Rumley who worked at Mount Boucherie for years, my neighbour across the street is almost on his way out and I’ve got a former student who is an RCMP officer who’s got serious problems.

“It’s just here, there and everywhere.”

The Westside Walkers, as of Tuesday, had raised $335 for the Terry Fox Foundation. The group’s goal is $999.

Lisa Worman and her husband Shane took over organizing the Terry Fox Run last year after they were alerted that the run was in jeopardy of being canceled if no one stepped up to the plate.

“It was amazing. We don’t have any event planning experience, but one thing that the Terry Fox Foundation has commented is that we have personal passion,” said Lisa.

The motivation to take on the task of organizing the annual event came from Lisa and Shane’s own—successful—battle with cancer. Shane was diagnosed with testicular cancer at the age of 34. A year and a half later, when Lisa turned 34, she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

“We believe that we’re alive today because of cancer research.”

Last year 970 participants and 100 volunteers took part in the run. This year Lisa is hoping to increase that number.

Another plan for this year’s run is a tribute to Betty Fox, Terry’s mother and biggest supporter, who passed away on June 17.

“I can’t imagine what she and Terry’s whole family has gone through in trying to keep this going and having to relive (Terry’s run) every year. It’s just overwhelming to me what they’ve done.

“We will be dedicating this year’s run to Betty and her incredible dedication to his cause in trying to keep Terry’s dream alive.”

Lisa said that the team dynamic of Westside Walkers and other groups that have joined together reflects the team dynamic of the Fox family.

“Brian has come up with a great idea: He’s a very inspirational volunteer.”

So far, 14 teams have signed up online for the run. One of those teams is the Worman family.

Registration for the Terry Fox Run in Kelowna opens at 10 a.m., with the event starting at 11 a.m. Participants can sign up for a 1.5 km, 5 km or 9 km run, walk or bike. Dogs are also welcome at the event.

Those interested in joining the Westside Walkers can do so on the Terry Fox Foundation web site (www.terryfox.org), under the Run Teams section.

 

wpaterson@kelownacapnews.com

 

 

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