Shelley Imbeault is living proof the battle against cancer is being won.
She wasn’t ready to give up her age, but did acknowledge she was five years old when Terry Fox began his Marathon of Hope across Canada.
“Do the math,” she laughed Sunday morning in the Cardio Plus parking lot, shortly before the 33rd Annual Terry Fox Run hit the streets of Tillsonburg.
Imbeault’s nine-year-old daughter Sloane Leighfield does have the facts down.
“Terry Fox was the man who ran halfway across Canada with one leg,” she responded, her quick response partially the product of assemblies at Rolph St. Public School, partly a round of parking lot trivia shortly before. “He had a really good idea and he was a really nice man.
“I found it really cool he did that for cancer.”
Sloane’s understanding of Fox’s impact, along with a very personal link to her own family may grow with time. Her mother admittedly has hazy memories of the original predicating event, in part from being five, in part perhaps, because Imbeault was understandably distracted.
“At the time he was running, I was undergoing cancer treatment and no, his first ‘do’, I don’t (remember) to be honest with you.”
Her chemotherapy for a Wilm’s tumour (of the kidney) was a highly experimental for the time, but 33 years later, Imbeault is vibrantly-living proof of its effectiveness.
Sloane, her mom (biking the 10K course) and step-dad Jason Weiler (running 10K) were not gearing up for an annual run halfway across Canada Sunday, but were part of a crew estimated at 140 strong running “halfway around Tillsonburg,” in Imbeault’s words, each inspired by Fox’s courageous vision.
“One person, it’s amazing how one person can join us all together,” she said. “This is one man who did this, and this is one run of thousands across Canada.
“It is an incredibly inspiring event.”
Weiler was three when Fox began his Marathon of Hope, and well beyond being overwhelmed by Terry’s motivation for running across Canada, is blown away by the impact, financial and personal, and living legacy he created. “The more I learn about him, the more inspiring I find the event to be.”
“I’m absolutely grateful to each and every person who is here,” Imbeault added in conclusion, before moving to the start line. “I wouldn’t be alive today without research.”