DUBAI // The Terry Fox Run returned to Dubai yesterday for the first time in three years, with more than 4,000 people taking part in the cancer research event despite the cool, cloudy weather.
Participants were able to run, walk, bike and rollerblade or use a wheelchair on the 5-kilometre route on the creek side of Dubai Festival City Mall.
The event was held under the patronage of Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed, chairman of Emirates Group, to support cancer research projects in the UAE.
“We are delighted to have the Terry Fox Run return to Dubai and are honoured to work with Al Maktoum Foundation to support cancer research projects in the UAE,” said Daniel Murphy, chairman of the event organising committee in Dubai.
Mr Murphy said that the race is expected to raise about Dh367,000 in donations.
“The best part is that whatever we have collected will be spent within the country for cancer research,” said the 35-year-old Canadian, who has lived in Dubai for more than five years.
The weather played a crucial role in making the run successful, he said.
“We were expecting good numbers. But this huge number is amazing,” he said. “We are so glad to see thousands of happy faces around us.”
Diane Stone, 29, is from Terry Fox’s hometown, Port Coquitlam in British Columbia. She participated in the race along with her family.
“Fortunately, mine and my husband’s parents are visiting us from Canada. Running for Terry Fox is something compulsory for Canadians,” she said. “How could we miss the chance here in Dubai? We are happy that we participated. It was a well-organised event.”
She had not expected such a huge crowd.
“I am really amazed to see such a large number of people and most of them have come along with their families, which is great,” she said.
“Such events create communities for the cause.”
Nine-year-old Rajan Parmar rode his bicycle in the event, participating alongside his father, who was running.
“I am happy that I crossed the finish line before my dad. I defeated my father for a great cause,” said the cheerful Canadian boy, who is in Grade 3.
“Back in Canada, I participated in the run many times. I am happy I can continue this in Dubai too.” His father, Vineet Parmar, said that such events were the best way to create awareness about the importance of cancer research.
“The best part of the race is a festive family environment, lovely weather and excellent arrangements. I am glad that me and my son spent our Saturday morning for a cause.”
The first Dubai Terry Fox Run was held in the UAE in 1994, organised by a volunteer committee. It is still organised by volunteers who operate with no monetary budget.
It is named in honour of Terry Fox, a Canadian who was told he had cancer when he was 18. Overcome by the suffering of others around him with the disease, Fox tried to run across Canada, raising money to fund cancer research in hope that a cure would one day be found.
His epic run became known as the Marathon of Hope.
Unable to complete it because of his condition, he died of the disease at 22, leaving behind a legacy that would resonate worldwide.
To keep his memory alive, Terry Fox Runs are organised in cities across the world including Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Ras Al Khaimah.
So far, more than US$650 million (Dh2.387 billion) has been raised.
All proceeds are retained in the race’s host country and go to recognised research institutions approved by the Terry Fox Foundation.