I had the privilege of becoming involved with photographing this wonderful event for the third year running. There is an amazing spirit and sense of fun at this annual event, but it has a serious note as well. It is ultimately to raise funds for cancer research and this has touched all of us one way or another, whether it is a dear friend, or family member who has become ill with cancer.
Terry Fox, who inspired the event was a Canadian athlete, humanitarian, and cancer research activist. In 1980, with one leg having been amputated, he embarked on a cross-Canada run to raise money and awareness for cancer research. In 1980 he began the Marathon of Hope. At the time he hoped to raise one dollar for each of Canada’s 24 million people. Although the spread of his cancer eventually forced him to end his quest after 143 days and 5,373 kilometres his efforts resulted in a lasting, worldwide legacy. The annual Terry Fox Run, first held in 1981, has grown to involve millions of participants in over 60 countries and is now the world’s largest one-day fundraiser for cancer research.
Rina Gauer, the organiser of the Ras al Khaimah Terry Fox Run was generous enough to give of her time enabling me to ask her a few questions, and give us as participants some insight into what is involved in organising such an event, what it entails, and where the money goes once it has been collected.
1) When do you begin with your preparations for the Terry Fox Run?
The RAK Terry Fox Run Team starts the preparation by mid September or 5 months before the event.
2) While you are obviously the driving force behind the organisation, how many people assist you to make all of this happen on the day?
There’s a lot of people involved in organising this charity event. Our Patron, HH Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi issues yearly an endorsement letter for all government offices to help and make the run a success. The Embassy of Canada and the Consulate Office are supporting us unconditionally too. We are also very dependent on Premier Sports, Organisers of the RAK Half Marathon. They provide all needed materials like the Arch, wristbands, lanyards and help us acquire water sponsorship, a vital factor for the event. I have to emphasise that all money collected from participants, and corporates have to be put into the Terry Fox Run Funds Account. We are all working on a pure voluntary services. We are not allowed to touch the funds or receive payment for our work.
3) When was the first Terry Fox Run held in RAK?
The first RAK Terry Fox Run was held in 2010.
4) Who is the Canadian Terry Fox representative in the UAE and what is his role?
TFR Foundation based in Canada helps a lot. The Canadian Ambassador and Consul General assist us and represent Canada, where Terry Fox is coming from.
5) How much money was raised for the 2015 Terry Fox Run in Ras al Khaimah?
The total collection for the 2015 run was AED 144,116.75.
6) Who receives the funds raised on behalf of the Terry Fox Foundation, and where does it go, and what are the raised funds used for?
All donations are being deposited in the Dubai Terry Fox Run Bank Account. The money stays in the UAE and will be used for Cancer Research programs that are being held in the University of the UAE. The research programs have to be approved by the Foundation and it’s committee before money can be released.
7) Do you find this a rewarding experience?
Personally, I have never imagined myself becoming this involved in something so big. I never thought that the RAK Terry Fox Run would be such a highly awaited community event in RAK. It is not easy to organise an event without any resources. But, I have been blessed with a very good team who never failed to amaze me with their generosity in time and ideas. The event is getting bigger and a success every year, because it is a cancer awareness drive and a great day out once a year on a Friday morning.
And some more photo’s from the day…