Cancer survivor reflects on importance of Terry Fox run

15 years ago in October Jade Gritzfeld was diagnosed with cancer and ever since she’s been a part of the Terry Fox run. 

When she was going through treatment it was the 25th anniversary of the Marathon of Hope, she said the memories of watching Fox on his run when she was younger started flooding in.

“He was always a hero of mine, I watched him do the run and gain profile and awareness along the way,” she said. “He was very selfless in how he did it and how he approached it.”

Gritzfeld decided that she wanted to join a group dedicated to fighting cancer. Although she was previously quite active socially, she had to withdraw from a number of groups to focus on her health and recovery. The drive to begin fundraising struck her one day at the hospital undergoing treatment.

“There I was sitting in my La-Z-Boy chair with my head propped up against it, because you don’t realize how heavy your head is until you’re going through chemo,” said Gritzfeld. 

From there she decided to volunteer with the Terry Fox Foundation, believing it to be as selfless as the man it was named after.

Gritzfeld said that 15 years on she has friends who have had their cancer come back, but her hope is to one day eradicate cancer.

Before the 39th annual Terry Fox run this year Gritzfeld spoke to Fred Fox, brother to Terry Fox, about her role with the organization and Terry’s Team.


Snow falls on a statue of Terry Fox in Vancouver in February, 2019, outside BC Place. (CBC)

Terry’s Team is a group of cancer patients and survivors who participate in the run. She said the conversation with Fred “certainly put a jump in my step!”

This year Gritzfeld said she will keep two of her friends in mind — both have had their cancer come back. 

“There still are people diagnosed, there still are people living with cancer and there still are people dying,” she said, adding that as long as those three things continue, “our work isn’t done.”

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