Terry Fox race spreads wings with new Ras Al Khaimah event

UAE residents participating in Terry Fox Run in Dubai. The race is held around the world every year to raise cancer awareness. (SUPPLIED)

Ras Al Khaimah is to host its first Terry Fox Run later this year, just weeks after the 15th annual run takes place in Abu Dhabi.

The Abu Dhabi race takes place on Friday at the Corniche, with the RAK Corniche event taking place on Friday, March 5. Both runs follow on from the Dubai event, which took place in December at Al Mamzar Beach Park.

Organisers of the Abu Dhabi run are hoping for a record-breaking year, surpassing the 15,000 people who took part in 2009. Since the first run in 1995 the event has raised more than Dh4.5 million, all of which has stayed in the country to fund cancer research.

Farid Dabaghi, Chairperson of the Abu Dhabi Terry Fox Run Committee said: "At last year's run, we raised more than Dh700,000, and donations kept pouring in afterwards. Our first priority is how much awareness and hope we raise.

And at the end of the day, every dirham counts, so we hope to make more than last year. The money goes to the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences at the UAE University in Al Ain each year, which is where all the local cancer research projects are administered."

In 2010, this is actually the 2009 run because temperatures are too hot in September for it to coincide with those in Canada – Terry Fox's home nation.

"Our mandate is to increase awareness of cancer and promote raising funds for innovative research, so we need adults and kids alike to be present and in the right mindset," added Dabaghi.

Meanwhile, the Ras Al Khaimah Terry Fox Run Committee is busy preparing for its first event.

There will be two races to choose from. Participants can either enter the 5km run or 3km fun run, the latter of which can be done on foot, bike or skateboard.

Although they have no projected participation numbers, the committee is urging local people to get behind the cause, especially because the Terry Fox Run remit dictates that all money raised must be used to fund local health projects.

"It was only a matter of time before we started a run in RAK," said committee member Ken Ford.

"People have been enthusiastic with local schools, colleges, the police and municipality involved so we hope to make this an annual event."

In Abu Dhabi, the organisers have this year changed the venue to accommodate the anticipated increased numbers. It will now start from the main entrance of the Public Beach on the Corniche. Terry Fox's sister, Judith Fox-Adler will also make the journey to the capital.

As with all Terry Fox runs, some of the participants will be running a very personal race having been touched by cancer. Stephanie Woodworth is one such person.

The respiratory therapist at Al Tawam Hospital and cancer survivor participated for the first time last year. She lost her right leg above the knee to osteogenic sarcoma, the same cancer that claimed Terry Fox and will this year donate Dh10,000 to the cause.

"I'm challenging my colleagues to match my donation. Raising money for cancer research is extremely important to me. I have been fortunate to survive my own battle with cancer, but cancers of all type continue to proliferate and so the battle is far from over," said Woodworth, who was diagnosed in 1974 and whose mother died of breast cancer in 1999.

"Terry has always been a hero of mine. There are very few individuals who take personal adversity and turn it around to benefit the greater good in society. Twenty-eight years after his death, the Terry Fox Run continues to be held every year in countries all over the world," said Woodsworth.

 

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