Terry Fox's mother due here to boost cancer fund-raising run
Stabroek News
May 8, 2002

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For the first time since the `Terry Fox' run began in Guyana three years ago, organisers are expecting Fox's mother to be here to help boost the fundraising activity in aid of local cancer awareness.

Betty Fox, whose son Terry lost his battle with cancer in 1980 just before reaching the age of 23, is expected to arrive here a few days before the June 9 event, organisers said Saturday at a press conference at the Canadian High Commission in Georgetown.

This year's run will start at 6:30 am from the Canadian High Commission, proceed along High Street, Main Street and Avenue of the Republic, before turning left into Brickdam. From there runners will take a left at Camp Street, proceed to Young Street and then return to the High Commission.

Last year, more than 2,000 persons participated and organisers are hoping that there will be a bigger turnout this year, and a lot more money would be raised. Registration forms are available from Scotia Bank and T-shirts will be on sale for $1,000.

Dr. Walter Chin, touching on the purpose and use of the funds raised from the run, said the Terry Fox Foundation has mandated that all monies must be used for research purposes.

Over the last two years, organisers have managed to raise some $3M, which in addition to a supplement from the Ministry of Health, helped in the formation of a cancer registry. The registry allows people to access information pertaining to the disease in Guyana.

However, Dr. Chin said there is still a long way to go in acquiring data about cancer in the country, since people are not usually cooperative.

"We are getting refusals from individuals and facilities when we try to collect data...the data is going to be useful for us to get a better picture of what is happening in the country," the medical practitioner stated.

Both he and Andrea Rohlehr McAdam are urging the public to cooperate in the accumulation of data, since the research will help in understanding what kinds of cancers are occurring in Guyana and in what frequency, possibly the reasons for the disease, and whether the disease is on the increase in Guyana, among other things.

So far, Dr. Chin said, there are occurrences of breast, cervical, lung and bowel cancers in women, and prostate, lung and bowel cancers in men. He said Guyana is basically following the general pattern of cancers in Caribbean countries, but he hopes future research can pinpoint what cancers are specific to Guyanese.

He said there is a feeling that cancer of the cervix is prevalent in young Amerindian women, but there is not enough data to confirm this, nor is there enough evidence as to why it is happening.

The first 'Terry Fox' run was held in Canada on September 13, 1981. Over the last 20 years, the event gained root in more than 40 countries around the world. In Guyana, participation is usually garnered from the business community, the police force and the health sector.

Terry Fox, who was diagnosed with the disease at the age of 18, became a national hero in Canada after attempting to run across the country in 1980 to raise funds to help fight cancer. At the time, he had already lost a leg which had had to be amputated when the disease spread. (Kim Lucas)